I’ve written about this “original sin” notion before. The most charitable thing I can say about it is: This is bullshit.
I was there. Here’s what really happened.
Before the World Wide Web, there were dozens of newspapers online, and with maybe one or two exceptions they attempted to charge for access to content. Dave Carlson’s Online Timeline should be required reading for anyone who wants to opine about this topic.
But it wasn’t newspapers leading that land rush. It was everybody else.
Newspaper companies actually intended to implement the old paid-content model on the new Internet, and went so far as to form a consortium called New Century Network.
The World Wide Web wasn’t about newspapers. It was about everything, and in the big picture of everything, journalism – online or not – is a tiny little sliver.
The Internet was a mammal appearing at the end of the age of dinosaurs. People with big ideas were creating big things, people with little ideas were creating little things, and people with no ideas were complaining about the Internet.
It is funny how the exact same bullshit gets published in German newspapers and on their websites to this day.