Let’s talk about publishing.

Let’s talk about publishing. I define publisher as an entity whose only value proposition to users is content and only or main monetization model is display ads. The New York Times is a publisher. Facebook is not, because it offers value to users far beyond content. And it offers value to advertisers far beyond display ads. Whereas the New York Times can target advertising according to context, Facebook allows advertisers to target certain kinds of people.

Publishers are dead in the water. No one likes them. No one should like them. Ads are at best interruptive and unpleasant, and at worst malicious.

The Brave browser, like Facebook, is eliminating the need for publishers by monetizing content directly. We still need platforms, or ways to host and distribute content. We need Facebook and Twitter and Medium, not all of them, but sites like them. But we do not need publishers.

We do need nonprofits and think tanks (for now) like Reason magazine, whose best writer, ENB, won a Maggie this year for The War on Sex Trafficking Is the New War on Drugs.

Reason does good work, like this:

“There are thousands of people in America who have received outsized sentences despite very minimal connections to the crimes of others thanks to our country’s conspiracy statutes. These laws give broad discretion to prosecutors to charge just about anyone who ‘conspired to commit’ a crime.

“Being charged with a conspiracy means people are punished for drugs they didn’t sell, guns they didn’t possess or use, and bad behavior they may have had nothing to do with. Conspiracy makes small players look like big fish, and get mandatory minimum sentences to match. Judges know the difference but can’t do anything about it, unless Congress changes sentencing laws.”

How Conspiracy Laws Let Prosecutors Abuse Their Power

I had the best weekend in Virginia Beach with my mom and fam. Hope yours was good too. Heading to Austin today. Might miss a few days of newsletters, but you’re in my thoughts my babies.

3 Comments

  1. dino

    I agree conspiracy laws are total utter horseshit and should be abolished like all other criminal laws, but as a criminal defense lawyer who is in the trenches everyday, the idea that mass incarceration or the real issue driving the incarceration of minorities is conspiracy laws is patently absurd, especially at the state level (the overwhelming number of prisoners in this country are state prisoners not federal) where they are rarely used.

  2. Hugh

    The United States has a justice system that gives prosecutors *enormous* power to decide whether to charge a minor crime or a major one.

    And many people are surprised to find that *most* United States citizens unwittingly commit several felonies per day (at least according to the law books, which prosecutors can select and choose from).

    Did you know that you, too, are committing felonies every day, and can be charged if the prosecutor decides you need to be … well … gone after?

    Regarding the value of conspiracy laws, they are included in those laws that people violate every day without even realizing it.

    Instead of eliminating all the conspiracy laws, a much better (and more just) approach might be to change the penalty for the crime to consider a totally new question: “What is the likelihood that this defendant will re-offend?”

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