Twenty-two years ago, in fact. I’d just finished shipping HyperCard, and was taking a three-month sabbatical to rethink things after a crazy two years. What hit me during the HyperCard development phase was the inevitability of the collision of personal computers, networks, and media, and that copyright was the nexus at which they all would meet. (Remember, this was before the CD-ROM, before AOL, before the MP3 format.)
So I started my own company, called Digital Goods. I read a lot of economics and copyright law. I subscribed to Variety. And I wrote two issues of a newsletter, the text of which is amazingly lost to the mists of time.
But I remember one central theory that thrilled me, and why I didn’t consider it an understatement to claim that the digital media emergence was a “revolution.” Put simply, with digital goods, the control of the means of production shifts to the hands of the consumer.
Marx and Engels made it pretty clear that it is revolutionary to change the control of the means of production, from the feudal class to the capitalists to the State. Economists and philosophers have yet to grasp what kind of revolution comes from everybody carrying a factory in their pocket.