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Unreal estate?

I think we can all agree that private property is a pretty good idea. We don’t want anyone who feels like it sleeping on our back porch, raiding the fridge or ‘borrowing’ our car.

Lately, though, folks who make intellectual property, the “unreal” stuff that you can’t touch as much as you can watch or listen to, have moved to make it much more like the physical goods we all own.

Much of the discussion has been incremental: Should you be allowed to watch a DVD movie on your linux machine? Should Amazon be allowed to sell used books right next to the new ones? Should it be against the law to publish five lines of original computer code on your web site?

This neat article from last year takes the thinking a whole lot farther.

If copyright exists for consumers, what sort of copyright do we want? I think the next year is going to lay the groundwork for the future. Speak now, as they say, or forever hold your peace.

On the same topic, I also really enjoyed The Pickup Artist, which describes what happens fifty years from now when unreal estate gets a little too out of control. Neal Stephenson could have written it, which is saying quite a lot. Terry Brisson takes the idea and runs with it.

Speaking–Live, in person and free

I’m flattered that a lot of correspondence I get is from people who’d like to come hear me speak. I rarely get hired to do talks that are open to the pubilc at large, so I thought you’d be excited to hear about this upcoming national (USA) tour. With a new book out, I’ll be in the following cities doing a free talk:

Boston, May 14

Philadelphia , May 23rd

Cleveland , June 4

Detroit , June 6

Seattle , June 25

Each talk is about Permission Marketing, with the exception of the Philadelphia talk, which will be about Survival is Not Enough. To register, visit Hewlett Packard’s Evolve Tour. (the Permission talks are on the top left pull-down menu associated with the Customer Relationship Management event, Philly is on the top right associated with the Business to Employee solutions event).

Thanks to HP for sponsoring this event, handling all the logistics, the web site and even giving you a free book for showing up. Seats are very limited, and you’re not in until you get a confirmation back from them.

Unrelated, but still of interest to those near London, I’m doing a not-free talk on May 9th. You can check out all the details at Seth in London . (Mysteriously, this link does not work with some browsers.) You can also save money by typing in the special discount code: MS0905.

Proof that the media assault is ubiquitous

Working out at the awful Marriott outside of the Minneapolis airport yesterday. Blissfully empty, I turned off the two TV sets (different channels, both blaring) and started my workout.

Fifteen minutes into it, a silver-haired executive-looking (how you do that in a t-shirt is anybody’s guess) guy walks in, walks right by me, reaches up and turns on CNN before he gets on the treadmill.

Try to imagine the opposite occurring. You walk in while someone is watching CNN and turn it off without asking. Never happen.

It’s clear to me that the media onslaught is the default. We’re so used to having the white noise of TV and the web that not only can’t we live without it, we assume no one else can either. What’s also clear is nobody really WATCHES it anymore (especially the commercials.) It’s just there.

I remember how special a TV show (any TV show) was in 1966 when I first started watching TV seriously. How everyone remembered every commercial and we all watched the same shows. I still remember some Batman episodes like they were yesterday… but I have no idea what CNN broadcast yesterday in the gym.

[last aside on this topic: 88% of the people with a TIVO digital video recorder skip every single commercial.]

April Fool’s webpage of the year

Google’s secret
Hope it’s still live by the time you read this. I wish we could make April Fools as pervasive as the rest of the holiday pantheon.