The Atlantic has up an insightful piece from its print edition called Closing the Digital Frontier. Michael Hirschorn takes readers through a jaundiced version of the familiar story of the rise and dominance of the "Information wants to be free" meme, then claims that the era of freedom is now over. "...the phrase Information wants to be free... became perhaps the most powerful meme of the past quarter century; so powerful, in fact, that multibillion-dollar corporations destroyed their own businesses at its altar. ... But now, it seems, things are changing all over again. The shift of the digital frontier from the Web, where the browser ruled supreme, to the smart phone, where the app and the pricing plan now hold sway, signals a radical shift from openness to a degree of closed-ness that would have been remarkable even before 1995. ... It’s far from a given that this shift will generate the kinds of revenue media companies are used to: for under-30s whelped on free content, the prospect of paying hundreds or thousands of dollars yearly for print, audio, and video (on expensive new devices that require paying AT&T $30 a month) is not going to be an easy sell. Yet lack of uptake by young people will hardly stop the rush to apps. There’s too much potential upside."
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