Regardless of whether the FTC requires it, I'd hope an ethical reviewer would make sure a disclosure. Wouldn't you? It would be great if advertisers themselves disclosed these practices, but I still think it's the reviewer's responsibility to disclose anything that a reader might reasonably interpret as a conflict of interest.
Mike, it's easy to see why this approach might not work--as you point out, unauthorized distribution happens extremely quickly, making it near-impossible to implement windowed releases. That said, the fact that people still buy music despite most of it being available for free tells me that we shouldn't be quick to assume it won't work just based on the unauthorized distribution channels.
Regardless, your opposition to creating artificial scarcities as a means of maximizing rents strikes me as more about ideology than logic. You talk about "what people want" but ignore that different people want different things. An approach like windowed releases at least recognizes the reality that some people place more value on immediate access to the music than others. Are you opposed to market segmentation in general?
The success of iTunes and iPhone applications notwithstanding, I'm highly skeptical of micropayments. The literature on human decision making generally shows that we don't like repeatedly incurring small costs, as compared to making a single decision to spend a lot of money. That's why amusement parks offer pay-on-price admission, or why we'll buy a car rather than repeatedly use taxis or car rentals.
But I suppose every advocate of micropayments thinks they can extrapolate from iTunes. I'm inclined to agree with the arguments that Apple's closed ecosystem is a special case.
I'm don't think micropayments will work for reasons that have to do with the psychology of decision making.
But your "no refund" argument doesn't sway me. You don't get a refund on movie rentals, pay-per-view, jukeboxes, etc. And, even though it's true that you purchase a daily newspaper (or at least someone does), I daresay it's a rental in practice, since most people don't keep the paper for more than a day.
The article is indeed a joke. Newspapers can opt out of being crawled in theory--though in practice they'd have to do it en masse because of the prisoner's dilemma they now find themselves in, addicted to the teat of organic search traffic.
The question is whether / how they should try to prove their independence. I've been debating this with Mathew Ingram at The Nieman Journalism Lab.
Now you're splitting hairs. If Google gives up its safe harbor status by ignoring DMCA infringement notices, it exposes itself to an enormous liability, which would in practical terms make them unable to provide a service at all. If you don't like the DMCA, that's fine, but blaming Google for abiding by both its letter and spirit as a law is disingenuous. Would you rather Google shut down completely, out of principle?
p.s. Why the anonymity? Your argument, while disingenuous, is intelligent, I see no reason for you to be embarrassed about or afraid of disclosing your identity.
I really wish that high-traffic blogs would either disallow or discourage anonymous comments. There's a real opportunity for intelligent discussion, but it's hard when most of the comment thread is ignorant screaming, safely posted from behind the cowardly mask of anonymity.
The DMCA is the law of the land, and Google is required to obey it if they want to continue existing as a business. If they aren't obeying the law, and you suffer damage as a result, then you can take legal action. It's not a perfect system, but, hey, if you don't like it, write a letter to Congress.
Reality check here: obviously journalists are no more "entitled" to their salaries than consumers are "entitled" to a proliferation of free news sources. That's what the market are for.
The more interesting question is where the market will lead us. Several years ago, I predicted that ad blockers would kill off the ad-supported model. But the percentage of consumers using them, while unreported, is broadly agreed to be too small to have an impact. On the other hand, barely anyone is willing to pay for online news.
So, for now, it's clear that the ad-supported model will stay with us. Moving forward, it's unclear how aggregating technologies like RSS will affect the picture. For example, will The Guardian embed ads in the RSS feeds that now include their full content?
This isn't a question of what anyone is entitled too. Rather, it's a question of how the market will respond to technology developments. Count me in as an interested observer and participant.
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