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Cloud capitalism’s threat to cloud culture

Charlie Leadbeater has a terrific post on the threats posed by the fact that The Cloud (as in “cloud computing”) too often actually is a recentralizing of the Net by profit-seeking companies.

The easiest example cited by Charlie is Google Books, which provides a tremendous service but at the social cost of giving a single company control over America’s digital library. The problem here isn’t capitalism but monopolization; an open market in which other organizations could (the pragmatic “could,” not the legal or science fiction “could”) also offer access to scanned libraries would create a cloud of books not solely controlled by any single company. (The Google Books settlement threatens to rule out competition because without an equivalent agreement with publishers and authors, any other organization that scans and provides access to books runs the strong risk of being sued for copyright infringement, especially when it comes to books whose copyright holders are hard to find. The revision of the Settlement is less egregiously monopolistic.)

2 Responses to “Cloud capitalism’s threat to cloud culture”

  1. I like Charles “Open Cloud Declaration”. However, if you read it carefully, it appears to be a refutation of five major threats Cloud Computing brings.

    Here is my point – I do not like the concept of Cloud Computing nor the solution offered today by Google, Microsoft, Amazon. Using Cloud defined by today’s standard we indeed recentralize the Web.

    Many people can not imagine Web without Google. Google is THE web for them. Clouds will only reinforce such paradigm.

    The today’s Web is the Web of siloses – one silos for search, another for my friends (facebook) – it already HAS become recentralized – should we go for more?

    NO, we should not. – we should be more vigilant, otherwise “… we will find our culture will belong to corporations and governments, rather than us. “

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