Read and Watch Together

Digital Planet reported on new technologies to allow users to watch videos at the same time and comment in real time via chat. This is similar to ideas already being developed with BluRay players having NIC connections (missing source). It seems once more individualized pursuits are quickly becoming social on the web.

Authoring and reading present further examples. South Africa recently has challenged authors to write novels one chapater at a time and distribute them via cell phones (Digital P.). Eventually this movement’s founder hopes this will spark community as many users read and author content.

Bob Stein (Sophie) sees a similar future in reading whereby readers would comment and share marginalia (not necessarily in real time) with each other.

However, it seems a major bar to this type of collaboration is the current state of intellectual property law. It suggested that with social video platforms could enable a class to watch and comment on video simultaneously. The same could happen with course texts and Sophie. However, currently I think IP law presents a bar to such work.

Bill Burger talks about the need for publishing to change and presents new authoring paradigms such as wikipedia, wikitravel, and encyclopedia life. WikiTravel actually allows users to order print versions of its site for specific destinations. One could imagine a future in which a travel itinerary is submitted and a custom book is printed and bound on demand.

Burger, however, envisions a future in which licensing agreements are ubiquitious but content appears “free” to users. Users, he says, will be local to tools and not content. I respectfully disagree. I think the movement is to content not bound to specific tools. AmazonMP3’s and iTunes recent changes in licensing and removal of DRM technology underscores this theory. Users want protability and not to be bound to specific tools. Finally, I predict that users will be willing to pay for this portability. Users will seek not to buy new tools, but to leverage existing devices (computers, cell phones, etc.).

*Digg web annotation feature allows a similar sharing of marginalia as users read online content.

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