James Fallows' "The Twilight of the Information Middlemen" is a decent article (apart from the RSS bit) in the New York Times:

In principle, this publicly financed knowledge has always been the public's property, but until a few years ago there was no easy way to get it from research centers to a wide audience. Thus various middlemen arose - notably scientific journals, which did the expensive work of printing and distributing research papers in return for steep subscription costs.
[via Open Access News]

The question now, not just for scientific papers but also for data such as maps, weather, events (lectures, exhibitions, concerts), broadcast listings, music metadata, etc, is whether commercial entities should be allowed to artificially restrict access to information in order to make a profit, when opening up the collection and redistribution process would allow it to be done much more cheaply.