A Necessary Conversation

WorldChanging’s Jon Lebkowsky has raised what I consider to be an important issue in his post, “Freedome to Connect 2: Fat Pipe, Always On….!” (Link). Many of you have seen me go off on how blatant disregard for intellectual property rights can affect the independent voices disproportionately to the entrenched corporations. Well, here we have another potentially dangerous side-effect of the two diametrically-opposed camps waging war: the corporations influencing IP laws and distorting their intent, and “free everything” people who don’t seem to care or consider how their own actions can backfire. There needs to be a return to reason.

I’m not going to lecture. Instead I’m going to post a link to something I read this weekend over on the NPR website: “Groups Unite in Dislike of Freeloaders” (Link). It’s not about the internet; not about file sharing or Napster or any of that. It’s about how working together benefits everyone. Give it a read. Give your own actions some serious thought… beyond the “I want it now” mentality that seems to permeate not just users, but short-sighted shareholders of corporations who are on the other side of this destructive tug-of-war.

There’s a new catch phrase floating around: Attention Economy. Give your attention to supporting independent work and those who provide it. Because when people illegally pirate, in the end, they’re just strengthening the chains that shackle them. And everyone else.

2 thoughts on “A Necessary Conversation

  1. Excellent point about supporting indepedent work. I suppose I fall into the “free everything” camp, although I don’t really agree with them on the everything part. I totally support doing things for free, I think it’s healthy and its a fantastic part of internet/tech culture.

    But you should be able to charge for stuff, too. I think that’s great, because then you can support yourself by doing what you love.

    I stopped (mostly) buying “big” music products a couple years ago, partly because of DRM and other crap they pull, but mostly because the stuff the big labels put out is mostly overproduced crap that takes as few real musicalrisks as possible.

    But it’s totally bullshit to steal it if you want it. And it’s doubly bullshit to steal music from independents, because with big labels when you steal you’re making a small statistical dent in their earnings. With a indie band, you’re actually stealing money from people.

    Ok, maybe there isn’t really a moral inequality there, but it feels like one.

  2. with big labels when you steal you’re making a small statistical dent in their earnings.

    Not necessarily. They’re tracking downloads and know what’s popular. In the “Attention Economy”, knowing that people are giving attention to a particular song (even if they’re stealing it), has value. The labels can use that information to leverage the licensing fee for that song in commercials, movies, whatever. So they’ll get theirs even while pirates think they’re ripping them off.

    The only way to fight big labels is to completely ignore their product. That’s it. Period.

    Support the independents and watch the music community create some amazing stuff.

Comments are closed.