How To Destroy Your Own Culture

Wired has a couple of articles about Pirate Bay (Link 1, Link 2), the popular Swedish website (among other things) that promotes filesharing and piracy. They’re worth reading. If you’re one of the people who think it’s kewl and worship people who recklessly endorse that behavior, no sense in reading further. If you’re an artist, designer, or perhaps wondering if there’s a catch, you might want to continue.

For starters, here are some things I wonder about when I try to figure these people out:

  • if the Swedes are promoting piracy to protect their culture, why then are they supporting invasive American culture by allowing and endorsing the piracy of American entertainment? The pirated movie that one of the members of Pirate Bay picks as an example for the reporter turns out to be “Spanglish”, a movie about a “woman and her daughter [who] emigrate from Mexico for a better life in America“. Huh? Why not show off using “My Life As A Dog“?
  • if Pirate Bay wants to protect culture by releasing it from the greedy clutches of self-serving corporations (who produced much of it) and distributing it to the starving and needy bored and privileged masses, why do they have a Top 100 which showcases essentially only Hollywood movies (I did notice a Japanese flick when I gave the current list a quick scan… but only one). Have they forgotten Ingmar Bergman? Why not drop the “Top 100” and replace it with “Top 10 Swedish Films”?
  • why did the Pirate Bay use “” in their message to the authorities after the May raid? Don’t they have their own pop culture sayings in Sweden? Why use a phrase attributed to an American entertainment property – Bender the robot from Matt Groening’s Futurama? Aren’t they again just promoting American culture over their own???
  • where is ALL the ad money going (and there is a LOT of it)???
  • And those are just from reading the first installment. When they get into politics in the second installment, this part just cracks me up:

    “We have a lot in common with the environmental movement,” he says. Where environmentalists see destruction of natural resources, the pirates see culture at risk. “(We) saw a lot of hidden costs to society in the way companies maximize their copyright.”

    Right. A bunch of geeks sitting around protecting destroying Swedish culture by allowing American media to saturate theirs is like biological geneticists telling people that creating mutant species will protect native species. You get a sense of how clueless they are from this bit:

    When asked about compensation for artists, both men reject the language itself. No artist sits down to “create content,” Fleischer says.

    Hate to burst your bubble Fleischer ol’ boy, but most artists do, in fact, sit down to create content. It’s how they survive and make a living in a world that doesn’t really give a damn about Art. Great way to help the Culture: take away opportunities for Artists to create Content in areas that use their skillsets and instead force them into other meaningful work… like flipping burgers. But what do you expect after reading this:

    It’s not the problem of the pirates, he tells me later, to figure out how to compensate artists or encourage invention away from the current intellectual property system — someone else will figure that out. Their job is just to tear down the flawed system that exists, to force the hand of society to make something better.

    Funny how it’s people who don’t create anything that consider it their duty to tear something down with little regard for the broader impact. Makes me think these guys support the American invasion of Iraq. Considering how much they apparently like having their own culture wiped out, I guess that makes sense.