SXSW: Web hacks copyright

Sergio Villarreal and Kent Brewster gave an interesting, if mostly offtopic talk on Web Hacks: Good or Evil (or: Welcome to Web 2.666). Many web technologies started off as “hacks”, notoriously <img> and .

The rest of the presentation followed loosely from the premise that “content” is, will be (via services like Dapper) and needs to be “everywhere”, largely via feeds and now . From this came three observations:

  • JSON everywhere as an alternative to feeds
  • “IP” is a questionable concept
  • Suddenly, everything is hackable (e.g., via a service like

And three recommendations:

  • Don’t wait for pipes to drain your feed (publish JSON)
  • Don’t stop writing!
  • The web hates authors and loves writers (continue to create, as opposed to selling previous creations)

The last seems like an observation, or a repeat of the previous recommendation, but is a really nice soundbite.

The presenters struck me as being far too optimistic (or pessimistic if you want) about the impact of their technologies (Brewster is a technology evangelist for Yahoo!) — closing slide “Copyright is dead” and imagining a copyright-ignoring YouTube appearing in Kazakhstan, and having an impact.

Factoid: Brewster said Yahoo! has about two dozen full time people reviewing content flagged as porn, mostly moms, with higher than standard cubicle walls.

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