Recommended: Rough Type proprietor Nicholas Carr's "Sharecropping the long tail." It's about the concentration of "the economic value of content" rather than content in the hands of a few players such as "MySpace, Facebook, and many other businesses" that "have realized that they can give away the tools of production but maintain ownership over the resulting products."
I think Six Apart's increasingly popular Vox social networking blogging service is a great example of what Carr wrote about. With Vox, users get free blogging software and hosting for their Six Apart designed blogs. In exchange, Six Apart gets to put small, content-related ads on users content pages. So far, Six Apart doesn't share the revenue with content creators. At least that's the impression I get.
The pressure to change this will likely increase if geeks start to use the service, which came out of beta on October 26, 2006, in great numbers. It's currently aimed at the masses.
Finally, I think Carr did a good job analyzing "Richard MacManus's new analysis of web traffic patterns" that helps "illustrate the point" referenced above.
"The widely-used and much reviled term “user-generated content” implies that somebody is making something," writes Scott Karp over at Publishing 2.0. "But the dirty little secret of “user-generated” sites like YouTube and MySpace is that much of the content is not made by the users themselves — it’s appropriated from someone else," he adds.