07 June 2007

Resolving the Open Conundrum

One of the central questions around openness is: Who pays? If stuff is freely available, where does the money come from?

In fact, the answer is simple: if the free stuff is valuable to certain people, those people will pay for it, even if it is free. Why? Because if they don't, it will disappear, and they will have lost something they valued.

But what about the free riders? Well, what about them? If you are getting what you want for a price that you consider fair, what's your problem? In fact, it's the free riders who have the problem: after all, who wants to look in the mirror and see a parasite?

Here's an organisation that gets this:

But why do our readers give so much to access content that is ‘free to the world’? They value our independence enormously and respect us for our transparency and honesty in requesting funds and the day to day operations of our organisation and they are realising enough real value from our free content that they want to ensure our business is sustainable.

(Via Open Access News.)

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