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David Poland

By David Poland

Eye Off The Prize

I am amazed that the drum keeps getting beaten for the idea that Google and aggregation in general is what is killing Old Media.
The formula for fixing this, as much as it can be fixed, is incredibly simple.
Syndication of content leads to an uncontrolled spread of page views on your copyrighted material. Want to read an AP story? Every paper they syndicate to has a website and as an aggregator, you have the choice of who you are going to give page views to every time you create a link. If the AP wants to stop that and wants to take advantage of views of their material, they need to stop syndicating… or at the very least, force the use of their copyrighted materials behind locals walls in each market and only offer a national link via a site of their own.
Now, the direct result may be that local news organizations place a lower financial value on the AP wire than before and they try to make deals for similar content with Reuters or other content providers. But that is business competition.
I am completely sympathetic to the fact that these businesses got to make money coming and going in recent years, facing no serious competition outside of one or two major competitors, with whom they split the giant pie. But that is over.
The second major step is to push a very specific set of rules that the Old Media companies feel constitutes Fair Use. But it needs to be a fair set of rules.
My suggestion is 500 characters that includes the original headline, a byline, and a date and time of publication, as well as a link to the original material. That would be something like:
Impressionist Fred Travalena dies at 66
9:23 PM EDT, June 29, 2009
Travalena died Sunday at his Encino, Calif., home of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. He was 66.
By some counts, he could mimic more than 150 famous people.
The Associated Press reported that Travalena, who also sang and acted, reached headliner status at the Stardust Resort and Casino in 2001, a year before the lymphoma first hit. He beat cancer twice but succumbed to the latest attack, which resurfaced about eight months ago, said his publicist, Roger Neal.

If you wanted to use a pull-quote without the rest, max 150 characters:
Travalena died Sunday at his Encino, Calif., home of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. He was 66.
By some counts, he could mimic more than 150 famous people. (Newsday/AP)

Real simple.

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One Response to “Eye Off The Prize”

  1. mysteryperfecta says:

    Sounds good.

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“But okay, I promise you now that if I ever retire again, I’m going to ensure that I can’t walk it back. I’ll post a series of the most disgusting, offensive, outrageous statements you can ever imagine. That way it will be impossible for me to ever be employed again. No one is going to take my calls. No one is going to want to be seen with me. Oh, it will be scorched earth. I will have torched everything. I’m going to flame out in the most legendary fashion.”
~ Steven Soderbergh

I feel strongly connected to young cinephile culture. The thing about filmmaking—and cinephilia—is that you can’t keep hanging out with your own age group as you get older. They drop off, move somewhere. You can’t put together a crew of sixty-somethings. It’s the same for cinephilia: my original set of cinephile friends are watching DVDs at home or delving into 1958 episodes of ‘Gunsmoke,’ something like that. The people who are out there tend to be young, and I happen to be doing the same thing still, so it’s natural that I move in their circles.

In terms of the filmmaking, there was a gear shift: my first movies focused on people around my age, and I followed them for three films. Until The Unspeakable Act, I was using the same actors, not because of an affinity for people at a specific age, but because of my affinity for the actors. I like to work with actors a second time, especially if I don’t feel confident casting a new film. But The Unspeakable Act was a different script, and I had to cast all new people. Even for the older roles, I couldn’t get the people I’d worked with before. But when it was over, the same thing happened: I wanted to work with Tallie again in the worst way, and I started the process all over again.

I think Rohmer did something similar around the time of Perceval and Catherine de HeilbronnHe developed new groups of people that he liked to work with. These gear shifts are natural. Even if you want to follow certain actors to the end of their life (which I kind of do) the variety of ideas that you generate makes it necessary to change. And once you’ve made the change, you’ve got all these new people around.”
~ Dan Sallitt