I have mixed feelings about the New York Times paywall, but here’s something intriguing. A few weeks before the paywall launched, the Times released a “recommendations” page that suggests new articles you might be interested in based on your browsing history. They even list these recommendations in a little widget in the sidebar of every article page, as well as the home page.
That’s a great feature, and it seems to work decently well. But, while I think the Times does want to help readers find interesting content, I believe the real reason they’re surfacing this feature is to show you this:
There’s that scene in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid when the latter is asked to demonstrate his shooting prowess, but can’t hit the target unless he’s moving. On some level, I think the same thing is going on when I write. Forced to focus on a single thing the mind rebels, whereas adding another element somehow focuses it. The coffeehouse somehow provides that element.
If you want to know why I want to work in copyright law, watch this documentary. While it is almost completely one-sided and has its share of inaccuracies, it certainly lays out a lot of issues on the table. If you’re interested in culture, creativity, and the future of expression: you need to watch this to know what’s at stake.
I come from the “Crazy Eddie” approach to regulation. In order for industry to adopt meaningful online privacy processes and policies on its own, it must fear that the F.T.C. is about to issue an order with the tagline: “We’re the F.T.C., and our policies are INSANE!” That is, if industry doesn’t step up, government will do it for them, and the government solution might be crazy.
All opinions that I express online are entirely my own. They do not necessarily reflect the positions of my firm, clients, or any other organizations with which I am or have previously been affiliated. I am a lawyer, but probably not yours: nothing I post here is intended to be legal advice and should not be taken as such.