The Problem With Long Reader, The Random Longreads Generator

How does publishing get squeezed to death? By thinking that content on the web isn’t owned by anybody.

It’s not surprising that a service which exists solely to scrape and republish random #longread articles in their entirety made some people — like writers and publishers! — a little upset. What is surprising isn’t just that its creators, Mohammad Kayyali and Beshr Kayali, don’t think they’re doing anything wrong by copying and republishing full-length articles — it’s how their entire thought process about online publishing works. (Though perhaps they are just trolling! In which case this would all be darkly funny.)

It’s this thought process, the idea that anything available on the web is not owned by anyone, so it’s not really possible to “steal” it — in some ways, the same kind of thought process behind torrenting music or movies or TV shows — that is potentially so deadly to publishers, many of whom are already surviving on the edge.

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