“Links are the currency of the web.”
Well, currency is currency. Links may generate traffic which, can generate currency but, for whom?
“media companies would be better off if they could just get everyone who is copying their stuff to link back to them than by trying to extract licensing fees out of them or suing them”
I think that’s fine for a blog post. If you wrote an article and somebody uses it, throws you a link; Then you will get some traffic and possibly generate some money with that traffic.
Lets say that you are a songwriter that wrote a tune that was cut by Artist A, who is signed to Label Z. Somebody wants to use the song on a website on which something is being sold; ads or widgets. When you click on Somebody’s site, the song plays along while you browse. Somebody dutifully links back to Label Z’s site where the song can be purchased. Artist A is happy-Label Z is happy-Somebody is happy.
Meanwhile the songwriter, the person who created the work that is being used by these various parties has his income cut in half.
Traditionally, over the life of a song the two ways a writer gets paid (mechanical royalties and performance royalties) work out to be about even.
How do you keep the writer happy, now that the web is a major source for selling music/using music to sell stuff? Well, maybe the label or artist could pay the writer more of a percentage on each unit sold.
Didn’t work out that way. In fact the label or artists have demanded their own performance royalties when music is used for Internet radio.
Now, the way the writer (creator) is getting the short end has been apparent for quite a while in the music industry. It is now coming to light in other places. I have a suspicion that the current Writer’s Guild strike has less to do with DVD sales than it does future Internet revenue.
It seems that public opinion is not on the side of the writers. The public perceives the writers as being part of a larger, bloated, ugly industry.
So, if the links are the currency and the domains are the gold standard then; what is the content?
In the end, if the creators of the content (writers) are not compensated, the quality of the content is going to continue to weaken.