Diller: Humbug on 'Internet is free' mythology

The days are numbered, the IAC/InterActiveCorp CEO says, for the prehistoric notion perpetrated by tech people that we shouldn't pay for content.

In Barry Diller's paleontological view of the Internet, we're still just coming out of the primordial ooze and slouching toward the "click to buy" button.

The IAC/InterActiveCorp CEO and self-professed opportunist , rather impatiently told CBS News' Katie Couric earlier this week that the day is coming when people will regularly pay for content. As he has before, he trotted out the example of Apple , which has managed turn its iTunes store into a "multimillion-dollar business" based on the once-heretical notion of asking people to spend money on digital music and video.

"We're still so young at this," Diller said of where the world is on the Internet timeline. "We don't even have, really, a first real generation. We're just kinda getting one."

In due time, he said, content companies will be unburdened of "this mythology of 'the Internet is free,'" which was perpetrated by a seemingly prehistoric tribe that cared only about bandwidth and availability.

"The Internet, you have to remember, was started by tech people," Diller said.

For more from Couric's joint interview of Diller and Tina Brown, who is editor in chief of IAC's The Daily Beast, see "@KatieCouric: Tina Brown and Barry Diller."

About the author

Jonathan Skillings is managing editor of CNET News, based in the Boston bureau. He's been with CNET since 2000, after a decade in tech journalism at the IDG News Service, PC Week, and an AS/400 magazine. He's also been a soldier and a schoolteacher, and will always be a die-hard fan of jazz, the brassier the better.


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