Monday, April 17, 2006

The Blogosphere is Blowing Up

Technorati's founder Dave Sifry presents the State of the Blogosphere and by his estimation, it is strong. According to the report:
  • Technorati now tracks over 35.3 Million blogs
  • The blogosphere is doubling in size every 6 months
  • It is now over 60 times bigger than it was 3 years ago
  • On average, a new weblog is created every second of every day
  • 3.9 million bloggers update their blogs at least weekly
  • 19.4 million bloggers (55%) are still posting 3 months after their blogs are created
  • Technorati tracks about 1.2 Million new blog posts each day, about 50,000 per hour
The growing number of blogs and people posting to them regularly illustrates that this form of speech means something more than generating income to many people. Blogging is a form of self-expression and a tool with which to shape one's personal self-image, and it appears that this idea is quickly catching on. Although the actual percentage of how many blogs turn a profit, to the point that they can substitute as a second job, is elusive, it is a small percentage.

Wouldn't you agree that there would still be hundreds, if not thousands, of small newspapers in every city if it weren't so expensive to run one? Now that the Internet has brought those costs down almost to zero everyone with an Internet connection is a potential newspaper.

This leads to the question: if a disproportionate number of people do not blog with profits in mind (83% of bloggers characterize their entries as personal ramblings and 20% mostly publish lists of links to interesting stuff, source), should copyright law be in the business of allowing copyright owners to engage in what is essentially censorship of bloggers' online diaries? Courts have yet to consider the freedom of speech in online copyright infringement defenses outside of the free speech elements implicit in the fair use defense. As blogging develops and becomes more widely utilized, it seems clear that copyright law must adapt to fit the ways in which users engage in and experience the Internet and not the other way around.

If blogs can serve as a way to re-inject the First Amendment into copyright analysis, then a tool like Google enables this kind of speech. Without Google and the ability to find information and sources to write about, how would anyone be able to blog? What Google does in making information available it does for a profit, but it does this for the rest of us as well.
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