What is the price of information? The article “What’s a Fair Share in the Age of Google” quoted Stewart Brand in stating that “Information wants to be free. Information also wants to be expensive.” So with this, what does that mean for the current state of how we receive our information? What do we pay and how do we determine how much value the information is worth?
To approach any of these questions, we have to step back and look at the way we receive information, any kind of information. We watch television and receive information on current events and news through programs and documentaries, reality television and live broadcasts. We receive news through newspapers and magazine articles. The biggest source of information is probably being delivered via the internet. There is a huge, vast sea of websites to choose from and so many share a lot of information in common but offer different ways of delivering it.
There is a lot of information that should be available to the public as part of our freedoms and rights. Most of this information can be found online or in a library and therefore there should be no additional cost to access the information. It has a high value for the person who seeks to learn and understand the meaning of it all. There is other information that the public would like to know but is kept in the dark by the government on claims that it is for the general safety of the people. While this may be true, and it would be better left to the government, how do we value that information in which we do not know? If there were to be a leak somewhere, what would we pay to know what the government is hiding? It is too hard to answer any of these questions. Most people want to know what they are paying for before they put out the money.
You can’t put a price on knowledge and the will and desire to learn but unfortunately there are people who can charge you to access it. With all the new technology and the fast pace of society, the real value for people becomes knowing the information first before everyone else. Once the information gets out, it becomes a game of telephone and somewhere down the line, anyone will be able to receive the information. I don’t believe we should charge people to access information. In the example of Sports Illustrated and their release of the Alex Rodriguez story, that all becomes about credit and timing. They wanted to be the first to release the story and get credit, in which they didn’t get as much as anticipated. In my opinion, that story is only important to those who follow baseball. In which case, the media can only project what the value of something will be to a certain extent. The true value comes from the consumers and what they are willing to pay for what matters to them.