At risk of sounding Manichean, let me speculate on two paths this realization could lead to. Many entities have succeeded with business models premised on making the “long tail” of content as accessible as possible. But it strikes me that Anderson’s book is really making a stir because business people want to squeeze revenue, not from the “long tail’ as a whole, but from individual works (by restricting access to them). That trend strikes me as potentially self-defeating--like the classical mythical figure ouroboros eating its own tail.
For example, might publishers resist Google’s book digitization project all the more strongly, hoping to ride a “backlist to the future?” If so, they may defeat the very enhanced searchability that made the long tail so important.
What role can law play? Well, Richard Lanham has a nice commentary in his Economics of Attention on the range of motives animating cultural production. On one side lies the desire for "fame, for wealth and honor;" on the other, "love of knowledge for its own sake," "pure play," etc. Lanham suggests that copyright law "simply ignores" the latter side of the equation. Perhaps an awareness of the necessity of "open access" to the "long tail's" success can lead to a more balanced copyright law.
PS: This is a mini-cross-post from Madisonian.net.