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Suggested Readings

Where We Are Now

“Digital Future Initiative: Challenges & Opportunities for Public Service Media in the Digital Age,” A report of the Digital Future Initiative Panel, December 15, 2005. Includes suggestions for ways that public broadcasting can and must re-invent itself in the digital future. 133pp. Digital_Future_Initiative_Report.pdf

“Beyond Broadcast: Expanding Public Media in the Digital Age,” by The Center for a Digital Democracy, February, 2006. A critique of the DFI panel report (the previous document). 57pp

The Creative Archive Licence Group — Creative Archive is the Open Content initiative that may be closest to a model for us in public broadcasting.

Digital Rights

Creative Commons — Overview and details of the Open Content license system.

“Repurposing and Rights: A Non-Profit Summit,” a report by Patricia Aufderheide, The Center for Social Media, May 31, 2006. 10pp. publications/ repurposing_and_rights

“Digital Rights Management,” by Cory Doctorow, June 17, 2004. A provocative argument against DRM.

Case Studies

“The Digital Learning Challenge:Obstacles to Educational Uses of Copyrighted Material in the Digital Age,” a white paper by The Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard Law School, August, 2006. By William W. Fisher III, John G. Palfrey, Jr., and William McGeveran. How current legal frameworks restrict public broadcasting’s usage of materials in its programming, using WGBH as one example. 117pp. education

“The WGBH Laboratory,” by Elizabeth Angell. articles/ the_wgbh_laboratory

“Open Content and the Emerging Global Meta-University,” by Charles M. Vest, President Emeritus of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. EDUCAUSE Review, vol. 41, no. 3 (May/June 2006): 18–30. The impact of MIT OpenCourseWare, one of the major Open Content initiatives in higher education.

“A Step Closer: Vanderbilt’s Open Web Project and the Future of Public Media,” by John Cheney. A description of the Open Web project at Vanderbilt Television News Archives, with a note about its income-generating effect. articles/ vanderbilts_open_web_project

Why It Matters

“New Media to Take Full Control in 2006,” by Diane Mermigas, The Hollywood Reporter, Jan. 3, 2006. This 3-page article on how digital broadband technology is “turning business dynamics inside out” in the entertainment and media industry. mermigas_display.jsp?vnu_content_id=1001772565

“We The Media: Grassroots Journalism by the People, for the People” by Dan Gillmor, published by O'Reilly Media, Inc., 2004. Presents a “toolkit” for the “expanding, thriving [digital] ecosystem.” 320pp.

“The Wealth of Networks: How Social Production Transforms Markets and Freedom,” by Yochai Benkler, published by the Yale University Press. The next steps in the digital transformation such as the “networked information economy.” Entire book (528pp) can be downloaded at:

Additional Readings — books, articles, downloadable documents


The Long Tail: Why the Future of Business is Selling Less of More, by Chris Anderson, published by Hyperion, 2006. Wired editor Anderson declares the death of “common culture”—and insists that it's for the best. Not long ago, smash hits existed largely because of scarcity: with a finite number of bookstore shelves and theaters and CD racks, it was “only sensible to fill them with the titles that will sell best.” Today, Web sites and online retailers offer seemingly infinite inventory. The result is the “shattering of the mainstream into a zillion different cultural shards,” creating market opportunities for those who cast a wide net and de-emphasize the search for blockbusters. Original article available at:

The Wealth of Networks: How Social Production Transforms Markets and Freedom, by Yochai Benkler, published by Yale University Press, 2006. In presenting this comprehensive social theory of the Internet and the networked information economy, Benkler describes the changing patterns of information, knowledge, and cultural production, and shows that how information and knowledge are made available can either limit or enlarge the ways people create and express themselves. He describes the range of legal and policy choices that confront us and maintains that there is much to be gained—or lost—by the decisions we make today. Downloadable at: Download_PDFs_of_the_book

The Innovator’s Dilemma: When New Technologies Cause Great Firms to Fail, by Clayton Christiansen, published Harvard Business School Press, 1997. Christensen writes about why the best-managed companies in all industries, from hard drives to consumer retailing, are susceptible to failure, in spite of their attention to customers and continual investment in new technology. This book introduced the term “disruptive technology,” which, in his sequel, The Innovator's Solution, Christensen replaced with the term “disruptive innovation” because he recognized that few technologies are intrinsically disruptive or sustaining in character: it is strategy that creates the disruptive impact.

Promises to Keep: Technology, Law, and the Future of Entertainment, by William W. Fisher III, published by Stanford University Press, 2004. Both the creators and the consumers of entertainment products stand to benefit enormously from the new systems. But, according to Fisher, we have failed so far to capitalize on these opportunities. Instead, energy has been devoted to interpreting or changing legal rules in hopes of defending older business models against the threats posed by the new technologies. He presents three alternative proposals, each involving a combination of legal reforms and new business models, for moving forward more productively.

The World is Flat: A Brief History of the 21st Century, by Thomas L. Friedman, published by Farrar, Strauss and Giroux, 2005. Friedman deals with a concept he calls “flattening,” where production is dominated by complex supply chains based on value-added services. In this process, products in all industries are leveraged through competitive commoditization and producers can benefit by using labor and services in emerging markets like India and China. Friedman argues that this is a process by which individuals as well as companies become empowered.

The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference, by Malcolm Gladwell, published by Back Bay Books, 2002. Gladwell introduces the particular personality types who are natural pollinators of new ideas and trends, the people who create the phenomenon of word of mouth. He analyzes fashion trends, smoking, children's television, direct mail and the early days of the American Revolution for clues about making ideas “infectious,” and visits a religious commune, a successful high-tech company, and one of the world's greatest salesmen to show how to start and sustain social epidemics.

Ambient Findability: What We Find Changes Who We Become, by Peter Morville, published by O’Reilly Media, Inc, 2005. Morville describes the future of information and connectivity, examining how the melding of innovations like GIS and the Internet will impact the global marketplace and society at large in the 21st century. See also:

The Cathedral & the Bazaar: Musings on Linux &Open Source by an Accidental Revolutionary, by Eric S. Raymond, published by O’Reilly Media, Inc, 2001. This book is considered a key tract on open source software, the premise for Open Content. Raymond argues that “users” should be treated like co-developers, with access to the source code of the software. Having more co-developers increases the rate at which the software evolves, as users submit additions, code fixes, bug reports, documentation etc. Most contents of this “evolving” book can be downloaded at

The Wisdom of Crowds, by James Surowiecki, published by Doubleday, 2004. New Yorker business columnist James Surowiecki explores a deceptively simple idea: Large groups of people are smarter than an elite few, no matter how brilliant–better at solving problems, fostering innovation, coming to wise decisions, even predicting the future.


“Amateur Hour: Journalism Without Journalists,” by Nicholas Lehmann, The New Yorker, August 7, 2006, 060807fa_fact1

“Beyond Broadcast: Reinventing Public Media in a Participatory Culture,” May 12-13, 2006, Harvard Law School. publications/ beyond_broadcast_report/

“Deep Focus: The Future of Independent Media,” by Andrew Blau, GBN Global Business Network, September, 2004.

“Grassroots journalism: Actual content vs. shining ideal,” by Tom Grubisich, USC Annenberg Online Review,

“Outside the Box,” by Peter Grant, The Wall Street Journal, December 19, 2005.

“The Infinite Album,” by Eric Steuer, Wired Magazine, September 2006,

“The New Deal, How Digital Platforms Change Negotiations between Public Media and Independent Producers.” Report by Patricia Aufderheide, Forward by Sally Jo Fifer, Center for Social Media, June, 2006.

“Two-way is the Route to Publicness : When Geeks Meet Wonks,” by Steve Behrens. Current , May 30, 2006.