As if your fall calendar wasn’t already jam-packed, along comes a batch of Internet-related conferences and panels. Herewith we report on one recent event, and preview several still to come. First, a cross section of Internet, media, and (broadly defined) educators gathered at Columbia University to address the issues facing the intersection of these markets, at Jupiter Research’s first Interactive Knowledge Forum on September 21. Guggenheim director Thomas Krens gave the keynote, outlining his vision for the Guggenheim Virtual Museum online that would serve as a cultural portal through partnerships with other museums, including the Hermitage in St. Petersburg. Michael Wolff gave the luncheon keynote, which turned into a debate with Fathom.com CEO Ann Kirschner, over whether classroom learning had a place in education. Wolff, ever contrary, claimed it didn’t, while Kirschner — remarking that, as head of Columbia’s virtual university, it was strange she should uphold the role of the classroom — argued that real-world education was as much about “learning how to learn” as about the subject at hand. Finally, a roundtable featuring Martin Nisenholtz, CEO of NYT Digital; Steve Brill (Brill’s Content and Contentville.com); Steve Davis (Corbis); and copyright lawyer Robert Fram discussed copyright and the new, borderless order. In discussing the impending Napster argument before the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, Brill noted that, though books and music publishers worry about copyright, “piracy in magazines is really just the passalong rate, and you brag about it to your advertisers.” In other words, copyright protection is imperative, until you want to boast about the number of eyeballs your content can attract.
Looking ahead, the next couple of months bring AAP’s Introduction to Publishing, Reed’s ePubExpo, Penton Media’s e-Book World and, if those don’t sate you, how about Internet Content East 2000, coming to New York this week? While this last focuses on web-based news and community sites (the former www.internetcontent.net), the previous three are book-centric: AAP’s is a meat-and-potatoes event, dedicated almost entirely to every facet of p-publishing. It features a range of speakers, notably Holtzbrinck’s John Sargent. Go to www.publishers.org. Meanwhile, ePubExpo wins the prize for the most aggressive marketing, and an impressive lineup of speakers, including IDG’s Jon Kilcullen, Wiley’s Will Pesce, Steve Brill, plus reps from several emerging ebook/epublishers. Finally, Penton Media’s e-Book World, which boasts Michael Wolff as its chair, has just mailed its first solicitation, though Jill Campbell, executive show producer, assures us more are in the mail. The site, www.e-book-world.com (now defunct) had the agenda, which included panels of p/e-publishers, from Larry Kirshbaum and Jason Epstein, to Richard Sarnoff and Jon Karp, and on to epublishers like John Feldkamp (Xlibris), Richard Tam (iuniverse) and Maggie Canon (Mighty Words). There are also a number of media pundits from Wired, The New Yorker, Inside.com, NYTBR, and others — about 50 talking heads in all.