Marc Rodriguez. Knowledge Detained Vol.19.
Encyclopedia welded in steel. http://flic.kr/p/e2zH7C
“The DRM Chair has only a limited number of use before it self-destructs. The number of use was set to 8, so everyone could sit down and enjoy a single time the chair.”
DRM CHAIR (by thibault brevet), via Honor H.
Netflix’s data indicated that the same subscribers who loved the original [House of Cards] also gobbled down movies starring Kevin Spacey or directed by David Fincher. Therefore, concluded Netflix executives, a remake of the BBC drama with Spacey and Fincher attached was a no-brainer.
“In 2012, for the first time ever, Americans watched more movies legally delivered via the Internet than on physical formats like Blu-Ray discs or DVDs.” Oh, what a surpirse!
“This painting is not available in your country”
Paul Mutant, 2010.
Acrylic on canvas
12” x 10”
As the EFF notes, many Latin American countries used to have more progressive copyright laws, but recently passed legislation has changed much of that. The previous laws drew the attention of the US government, either landing these “non-conforming” countries on the infamous Special 301 list or threatening their participation in bilateral free trade agreements. Further pressure is being exerted by the highly secretive TPP whose negotiations seem to consist of shutting the public out and telling other nations how to run their own countries, IP-wise, while excluding them from negotiations.
Colombia pushed through incredibly extreme copyright legislation ahead of a visit from President Obama, ignoring an outraged public which had staged SOPA-style protests during the law’s debut months earlier. Spain, like Portugal, also considered filesharing legal, until the US stepped in and rewrote its copyright laws after smacking it around with an appearance on the Special 301 report. Switzerland pushed back against outrageous Hollywood-backed claims about filesharing and is now on The List. Canada recently went through some copyright reform of its own, but apparently not to the liking of the entertainment industry, which has suggested it will simply overwrite the parts it doesn’t like with the TPP.
The end result is the US government using protectionist policies to force cultural change on other countries, shifting legislative viewpoints to match up with corporate demands which routinely exceed the severity of our existing laws. In essence, “your culture is wrong.” Should the US government be in the business (and it is very much a business) of applying “our” moral standard on other countries, especially when non-conformance is subject to threats implicit and explicit?
It’s been stated here before that infringement is not a moral issue, but those pushing for harsher legislation and more enforcement abroad certainly believe it is. Making countries subject to compliance with an arbitrary moral standard (written by certain industries) as a prerequisite for entering an advantageous trade agreement doesn’t create copyright converts. Instead, it creates the IP equivalent of “rice Christians” who allow the US to rewrite their IP laws in order to prevent being locked out of beneficial agreements by one of the most prosperous nations in the world. The end result is coerced compliance that runs roughshod over existing IP laws at the expense of their own constituents.
Applying a new moral standard via the institution of new laws that only benefit the industries being catered to sounds a lot like an advantaged group using its governmental patrons to conform the world to its preferred standards. The government of perhaps the most powerful nation in the world at your fingertips is the sort of thing that no industry, no matter how “beleaguered,” should ever have at its disposal.
The end result is an entertainment industry occupation by proxy. The limitations enacted in order to enter a free trade agreement put these countries at a severe disadvantage by crippling local tech industries. Opening trade means very little when innovation is thwarted by legislative overreach.
An economy stifled by restrictive additions to existing IP laws puts the continuing development in the hands of American special interests who don’t actually care whether or not a country thrives as long as their own interests are protected. Sabotaging innovation to protect legacy business models is nothing more than imperialism redefined. The entertainment industry, speaking through the government, is now an occupation force, one that uses “free trade” as a cover for top down dominance of the native population by removing protections, erecting barriers and excluding the affected constituents from the legislative process.
especial when your a buying albums produced by a label… how much do you think is actually going to the fucking artists anyway ?
WOW WHAT A SURPRISE.
anyone who says anti-piracy measures have helped artists is full of shit.
- download something
- put it on a DvD
- sell it
- make profit
not what most of us do:
- download something
- like it
- go out and buy it
- give money to rich people
- having a peg leg
- wearing an eyepatch
- keeping your pet parrot on your shoulder
- referring to your vessel with feminine pronouns
- roaming the seven seas pillaging for profit
- having an emotional love affair with the sea and its figurative freedom that eventually drives you to utter insanity
If you download music illegally in Jamaica
does that make you
A PIRATE OF THE CARIBBEAN
Credibility-establishing Editorial Note: I have paid for all my music in at least the last 5 years. I relish my trips to my favorite local record store to (gasp) buy CDs, and I use several music services that are “legitimate” (like Spotify, Turntable, Pandora, and iTunes).
Like everyone else on the Internet lately, I read this blog post arguing in favor of people paying for music recordings to support artists. But rather than argue against any of the specific points (a temptation very difficult to resist, especially when he seemingly tries to argue that my CD burning activity in high school was to blame for several suicides), I want to think more about the fundamental question: “Why don’t people want to pay for recorded music?”
In a lot of these anti-piracy arguments, there’s the assumption that artists are entitled to monetary compensation for their recordings. I believe this assumption is now false, and that’s the real reason for the changes in how people acquire and consume recorded music.
The assumption that artists should be compensated with money for recording music is probably based on economic and technological factors in the 20th century, when the means to produce and distribute quality music were limited to “professionals.” Recording equipment required experience and expertise to produce anything listenable. Additionally, getting recordings into the hands of a large audience required a lot of infrastructure - creating the physical albums, shipping them, marketing them, etc.. When the production and distribution of music had such barriers to entry, recorded music had economic value and people were willing to pay for the music that made it through those barriers. Musicians were operating in an industry, producing something that only a limited set of people had the means to produce.
So what is “economic value?” I’m using it to mean the perceived monetary exchange rate for a given good or service. And it is usually predicated on that good or service not being widely accessible - basic supply and demand. This has always been the case. If I were a cabinetmaker, I would never pay for someone else to make me a cabinet because it’s a service directly accessible to me - I would have the requisite expertise, means, and desire to perform the task such that the economic value of someone else doing it would be well below the amount I would pay. But other people are farmers or lawyers or plumbers, and they do not have the expertise or means to make cabinets. So they would pay me to produce cabinets. Because the supply of cabinets is low, the supply of cabinet-making skills is low, and the demand for cabinets is high, those cabinets and skills have more economic value.
Have you used music production software lately? It’s really easy to make a professional sounding recording. And once you do, it’s super easy to post the file online and then anyone in the world with an internet connection can hear it. In my mind, music production no longer has the barriers to entry that give it economic value. Amateurs are often making music that I like more than “professional” recordings. Heck, even I can make music that I like listening to more than a lot of “professional” recordings. In my view, recording music no longer carries economic value, so I generally don’t feel the need to compensate musicians with money for their recordings.
If this seems cruel or arrogant or ridiculous, consider this passage from This is Your Brain on Music: The Science of a Human Obsession (bolding added by me):
Music is unusual among all human activities for both its ubiquity and its antiquity. No known human culture now or anytime in the recorded past lacked music. Some of the oldest physical artifacts found in human and protohuman excavation sites are musical instruments: bone flutes and animal skins stretched over tree stumps to make drums. […] Even more so in nonindustrialized cultures than in modern Western societies, music is and was part of the fabric of everyday life. Only relatively recently in our own culture, five hundred years or so ago, did a distinction arise that cut society in two, forming separate classes of music performers and music listeners. Throughout most of the world and for most of human history, music making was as natural an activity as breathing and walking, and everyone participated. Concert halls, dedicated to the performance of music, arose only in the last several centuries.
Jim Ferguson, whom I have known since high school, is now a professor of anthropology. […] For his doctoral degree at Harvard, he performed fieldwork in Lesotho, a small nation completely surrounded by South Africa. There, studying and interacting with local villagers, Jim patiently earned their trust until one day he was asked to join in one of their songs. So, typically, when asked to sing with these Sotho villagers, Jim said in a soft voice, “I don’t sing,” and it was true: We had been in high school band together and although he was an excellent oboe player, he couldn’t carry a tune in a bucket. The villagers found his objection puzzling and inexplicable. The Sotho consider singing an ordinary, everyday activity performed by everyone, young and old, men and women, not an activity reserved for a special few.
Our culture, and indeed our very language, makes a distinction between a class of expert performers - the Arthur Rubinsteins, Ella Fitzgeralds, Paul McCartneys - and the rest of us. The rest of us pay money to hear the experts entertain us. Jim knew that he wasn’t much of a singer or dancer, and to him, a public display of singing and dancing implied he thought himself an expert. The villagers just stared at Jim and said, “What do you mean you don’t sing?! You talk!” Jim told me later, “It was as odd to them as if I told them that I couldn’t walk or dance, even though I have both my legs.” Singing and dancing were a natural activity in everybody’s lives, seamlessly integrated and involving everyone […]
The idea of recorded music having economic (monetary) value arose after the means to produce it (at the quality level our culture came to expect) became scarce. And when something acquires monetary value, an Industry builds up around it. But that economic value is eroding as the means to produce it are made ubiquitous.
I think this idea explains the differences in how other content industries are faring right now. The means to produce and distribute print content have also been made more accessible, and you see the newspaper and magazine industries struggling in the same way as the music industry. (Obviously there are nuances to that whole discussion that I won’t go into).
But Hollywood and the TV industry have not been affected as much because very few “amateurs” have the means to produce the same quality of content. I’m willing to pay for “Prometheus” because the industry adds value to that movie - can you even imagine how awful an “amateur” version of that movie would be? But, if software is invented that allows for really simple and compelling effects / CGI, audio editing, camera work, lighting, etc. I could imagine not feeling like Hollywood was adding any economic value anymore and not wanting to pay for movies.
I think another important point here is that these content industries have always involved an uneasy fusion of Art and Capitalism, and that given the choice, people want to lean towards Art. Put another way, people prefer to think of music as an expression of something emotional and visceral that just wants to get out into the world, not as an industry or a business or a vehicle to make money. When anti-piracy advocates talk about not paying musicians as a “social injustice,” it simply doesn’t hit home. You have to pick a side - is music to be treated as Art? If so, then expecting payment is just delusional. Is music then a business? If so, the more broadly accessible means of production and distribution have eliminated the economic value that made recording viable as an industry. Deal with it. We didn’t like music being a business anyway.
This paragraph in the blog post highlights how little anti-piracy advocates seem to be grasping the real issue:
The fundamental shift in principals and morality is about who gets to control and exploit the work of an artist. The accepted norm for hudreds of years of western civilization is the artist exclusively has the right to exploit and control his/her work for a period of time. (Since the works that are are almost invariably the subject of these discussions are popular culture of one type or another, the duration of the copyright term is pretty much irrelevant for an ethical discussion.) By allowing the artist to treat his/her work as actual property, the artist can decide how to monetize his or her work. This system has worked very well for fans and artists. Now we are being asked to undo this not because we think this is a bad or unfair way to compensate artists but simply because it is technologically possible for corporations or individuals to exploit artists work without their permission on a massive scale and globally. We are being asked to continue to let these companies violate the law without being punished or prosecuted. We are being asked to change our morality and principals to match what I think are immoral and unethical business models.
There is no immorality or ethics here! The changes in business model are not caused by morals or ethics, but rather by economics. When you take Art and monetize its production and create an industry, and that industry is then faced with the realities of capitalism and supply and demand, don’t act like there is social injustice at work. You can object to the capitalist system, but you can’t argue that things should work the way they did when capitalism was going well for you.
I think the bottom line is that nobody cares if the Music Industry dies because nobody believes it is adding value anymore, and that Music will continue on just as it has since the protohumans first started making it. That’s why people won’t pay for it.
Follow-up to Editorial Note: So if I don’t believe artists are entitled to be paid, why do I buy music still? Well, when I buy a CD, the value I perceive is not necessarily that the artist and the industry created this music I’m about to hear. The value is in the experience of going to the record store; the value is the record store itself, which curates and highlights music I wouldn’t normally find (“discovery” value); the value is in supporting the employees who will filter out the noise. And I use services like Spotify or iTunes not because I believe I’m compensating artists, but because they give me access to music instantly and easily (streaming!!!). I use Turntable because it’s a unique social experience. In short, I don’t pirate music, but not because I believe artists are entitled to money. Rather I place economic value on other things around music. And, lastly, I don’t object to artists making money. But I don’t think any artist should feel like they are entitled to be paid for their recorded music - I don’t think it should be viewed as an economic good or product.
Forget the ethics of piracy
I can buy a used CD from Amazon and have it mailed to me for less than it costs to download the album. The artist gets nothing, and I can resell the CD if I don’t like it. Let’s talk about the ethics of that.
The U.S. Government sponsors it’s own legal Pirate Bay where I get hundreds of CDs for just a few bucks a year, as well as all the books and movies I could ever consume. It’s called the public library. Let’s talk about the ethics of that.
An artist records a song in 1930 and has been dead for 50 years, but it’s still under copyright even though nobody knows or can prove who exactly owns the copyright. Let’s talk about the ethics of that.
A radio station can broadcast a song for free over the airwaves, but can’t broadcast the same thing online without paying enormous fees. Let’s talk about the ethics of that.
Disney gets to sit down at a table with lawmakers and draft new laws that benefit Disney and rob legitimate culture from the public. Let’s talk about the ethics of that.
Some of the most profitable movies in history have still not shown a profit according to Hollywood. Let’s talk about the ethics of that.
There are more things to get worked up about than some intern wishing for a better Spotify.
Today at 12:56 CET, the European Parliament decided whether ACTA would be ultimately rejected or whether it would drag on into uncertainty. In a 478 to 39 vote, the Parliament decided to reject ACTA once and for all. This means that the deceptive treaty is now dead globally.
The UK convicted 24-year-old student Richard O’Dwyer of conspiracy to defraud for posting links to TV and video content on his site. Now the US is trying to get him extradited for violation of copyright law on a much smaller offense.
Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales started a petition on Change.org to stop the extradition.
O’Dwyer is not a US citizen, he’s lived in the UK all his life, his site was not hosted there, and most of his users were not from the US. America is trying to prosecute a UK citizen for an alleged crime which took place on UK soil.
On the few occasions he received requests to remove content from copyright holders, he complied. His site hosted links, not copyrighted content, and these were submitted by users.
Richard O’Dwyer is the human face of the battle between the content industry and the interests of the general public. Earlier this year, in the fight against the anti-copyright bills SOPA and PIPA, the public won its first big victory. This could be our second.
- Jimmy Wales, Wikipedia founder
For a long time, the copyright industry has cried foul over technical progress, and demanded taxpayer compensation for how these new developments circumvent their existing privileges. It didn’t start with the internet; they’ve done so for well over a century, starting with complaining about the gramophone and the self-playing piano. But as they are crying over lost sales, real or imagined, why is the rest of the world accepting that this field — the copyright industry’s profits — is the place where the debate should be playing out?
You’ve all seen the stories. The sky is falling, the end is nigh, music will come to an end, people sharing their knowledge and culture and thus disrespecting the copyright monopoly rips the bread out of starving artists’ children’s kittens’ mouths, yada yada yada.
What I can’t understand for my life is why this industry’s profits are even being debated. Who cares how much money a particular industry makes? That is not relevant at all for the form, size and shape of our most basic civil liberties as they apply online.
Let me try an analogy. When mankind communicated privately 30 years ago, our parents sent physical letters in the mail. They wrote a message by hand or with a typewriter on a piece of paper, put the paper in an envelope and sealed it, wrote the recipient’s home address on the outside of the envelope, manually affixed a stamp to pay for delivery, and put it in a mailbox. The postal service would then physically carry the envelope with the letter inside to its recipient’s home, where it could be read. This delivery took a day or a couple of days, just like when we order new shiny gadgets today and things need to be physically delivered.
So, let’s take a look at what rights our parents had in this scenario. First, they and they alone determined whether to identify themselves as sender - on the outside of the envelope, for the delivery services to know; on inside of the envelope, for only the recipient to know; or frankly, not at all. That was their prerogative. Nobody had the right to open letters in transit just to see that they didn’t contain any illegal material, and nobody was allowed to track who was communicating (sending letters) to whom.
It is perfectly reasonable that we demand these fundamental rights of our parents’ private communications to carry over into the online world, to our children’s equivalent environment of life.
Now, once you say that anybody should be able to send anything to anybody on the net without interference, because that’s in the civil liberties that our ancestors fought, bled and died for, the copyright industry jumps in and complains. “We can’t make any money if you allow this to happen”, they would say.
My response is “So what?”.
The role of any entrepreneur is to make money given the contemporary constraints of society and technology. They do not get to dismantle civil liberties, even if - and perhaps especially if - they are unable to make money in the face of sustained civil liberties.
If the copyright industry can’t sell their products in the face of sustained civil liberties, they get to go out of business or sell something else instead. Mustard, perhaps.
The important trap to observe here is that it’s not our problem if the copyright industry’s sales are slumping - whether they are or not. It is irrelevant to the debate on civil liberties online. By starting to discuss the profits issue, the copyright industry wins the framing of the debate - that they should somehow have a right to such profit; that society must be shaped so they can continue to make a profit. No entrepreneur gets that luxury.
The copyright industry is not a stakeholder in copyright monopoly legislation. They are a beneficiary. There’s a difference.
The only stakeholder in the copyright monopoly legislation is the public. The copyright monopoly is a balance between the public’s interest of having access to culture and knowledge, and the same public’s interest of having new culture and knowledge created. That’s it. Those are the only two interests that go into the legal wording of the monopoly.(…)
Just because the copyright industry has benefited from this monopoly construct in the past, that doesn’t mean that they have any right whatsoever to profit from it tomorrow. That’s not a concern at all in reforming the copyright monopoly. In drafting such legislation, our only concern is maximizing the knowledge and culture available to the public.
by Rick Falkvinge, the founder of the Swedish and first Pirate Party