The Pirate Bay’s Peter Sunde has recently stated he’s given up. His interview can be read here. David Newhoff at the Illusion Of More responds to Sunde in a brilliant open letter that is required reading.
This is what comes of evangelizing the idea that it’s okay to exploit other people’s investment of real labor and real capital in goods and services that would otherwise have regenerative value. And exploiting these types of investments is precisely what you and your colleagues did with The Pirate Bay.
At least part of the Internet you don’t like is what comes of preaching to a whole generation that they can have whatever they want, free of charge, as long as it’s just a mouse click away. And indeed, we are lately seeing the wheels come off that naive (and frankly predatory) idea. As the leaders of Pandora and Spotify begin to see that “freemium” isn’t a business model; as Facebook’s video service “freeboots” the promised ad-share value out of the pockets of YouTube creators; and as the global network of pirate sites is revealed to be a malware-infested and sophisticated black market that preys on individual consumers, you seem to have missed the point, Peter. The “fight” you lost is not with the MPAA and the principles of real capitalism—but with the unfettered greed you helped foster on the Internet you asked for.
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Posted in Ad Sponsored Piracy, Artist Rights, Copyright Policy, Ethical Internet, Exploiation Economy
- Tagged David Newhoff, Don't Break The Internet, Get Over It, Give Up, Lost Battle, Motherboard, Peter Sunde, the pirate bay, Vice
If we strip away some of the color and simply look at the assertions being made, then the basic structure of the article reveals an important fallacy. First Johnson states that most of the evidence of harm done to creators in the digital age is anecdotal, and this is partly true — although anecdotes from professionals should not be misconstrued as mere random complaining. So, to get beyond the anecdotal, Johnson then cites macroeconomic data, compiled by the Labor Department, most of which suggests a big-picture view that creative people in all media are doing better than they were a decade ago. But, having previously scorned the anecdotal negative, Johnson then cherrypicks bits and pieces of the anecdotal positive — some of which he misrepresents — in order to support his interpretation of the economic data he cites.
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A must read from David Newhoff for all creators with many points, well made.
Further, if it is true that a copyright-free future could shrink the pool of producers to those already financially secure (as predicted above), this suggests that all of the non-remunerative benefits of copyright might be of even greater value to those authors still willing and able to produce. And in the absence of those rights, we could easily see a reduction not only in the number of producers, but also in the number of works produced by that elite few. In a practical example, imagine the trustafarian artist working in the most altruistic manner, producing wonderful works solely to be experienced; he doesn’t care about money, but he does have to accept that McDonald’s can use his work to sell hamburgers, which betrays everything he is expressing. It is not farfetched to imagine the artist in this example will withhold works from public view, even if he continues to produce for his own pleasure.
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Very insightful and accurate analysis of our digital life and the online ecosystem which devalues the rights of the individual in favor of unprecedented corporate power against citizens.
Tube, yes. You, not so much.
If there has been one consistent theme in everything I’ve written since diving into the morass we call the digital age, it’s that the Internet is not ours despite all appearances to the contrary. Like it or not, all the populist, free-speech rhetoric that’s been spoon-fed to the public by the chief propellorheads of the land is just a gateway drug meant to dull our senses so we don’t notice the monopolistic power grab that’s been taking place. No, the Internet is not ours so much as it belongs to a very small consortium players, most especially Google, which controls nearly all search and nearly all advertising worldwide.
As I argued during the heated squabble over SOPA, these companies don’t really give a damn about free speech or about liberating creators and consumers of content from the media elite gatekeepers; they simply want to be the new media elite, and have the potential to be far more ruthless gatekeepers. Instead of an oligopoly of studios, labels, and publishers we’re gleefully handing over absolute power to a couple of companies, not only calling it progress but even more shockingly calling it democratic.
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If we want to strengthen free speech; if we want a hedge against invasions of civil liberty; if we want to speak truth to power, then we must continue to empower those who speak the truth and do so openly and professionally. To put it whimsically, a great bulwark against tyranny would be a class of unusually wealthy poets. As Congress resumes the process of copyright review in 2014, we should seek not to weaken these laws on an assumption of their irrelevance in the digital age, but to strengthen them on the grounds that they are more important than ever.
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David Newhoff at The Illusion Of More challenges Lawrence Lessig’s “Laws That Choke Creativity.”
So, as a legal layman but active observer of these things, it seems to me Mr. Lessig’s presentation, though charming, contains at least two fallacious premises. The first is that the positive aspects of remix culture are actually threatened by the copyright system; and the second is that remix culture is universally positive. I don’t know of any cases in which rights holders are stopping “the kids” from singing the songs of the day on YouTube. But there are plenty of cases in which adults are profiting from remixing culture in ways that benefit neither fans nor creators. While it’s almost rote these days to call everyone a shill, I don’t think this is very helpful. I prefer to assume intelligent people mean what they say and believe in their positions, and Lawrence Lessig is certainly an intelligent man. Of course, that might be why his ideas are ultimately so dangerous.
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An interesting look at the Electronic Frontier Foundation’s highly selective reasoning regarding the DMCA by David Newhoff at The Illusion Of More.
“The long and shameful history of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act file takedown abuse teaches us that intellectual property owners cannot be trusted with the enforcement tools they already have — we should hardly be giving them new ones.” The “long and shameful” true history of the DMCA is how utterly useless the mechanism is for rights holders to protect their works.
Many creators have demonstrated over an over again that the DMCA notice and takedown procedure is spitting in the wind for even very large, well-funded producers, and completely hopeless for independent and smaller rights holders.
Meanwhile, it is the (internet/tech) industry that funds the EFF, who have made sure that DMCA remains a fly swatter in a storm of raptors. And that’s bad enough, but to add insult to injury, McSherry sticks this fact in a paper bag and lights in on fire on our doorstep when she says the DMCA has a “history of abuse” by rights holders. And one reason we can know she’s full of it, is the flimsiness of the cases her own organization chooses to take on as exemplary of this so-called abuse.
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