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Mon Feb 18, 2013, 04:02 PM

A legal internet would never have caught on

A legal internet is not the internet as we came to know it.

We will find that much or most of the vibrancy in our culture for the last couple of decades has come from everyone having access to everything on the internet.

If the internet had always followed all copyright law the internet would not have been much.


Society gave the internet enough room to run to become indispensable (culturally) and now they will lower the boom, applying the pricing power that is the goal of monopoly.

And it will have big, big, big effects.

I hate to break this to everyone, but if everyone who ever used Photoshop had had to pay $800 for Photoshop there would not be very many digital artists and designers... or at least not many good ones.

And if people paid for all the music they ever listened to people would not know much, or care much, about music.

And 13 year old computer geniuses don't actually have thousands of dollars to pay for e-books about programming computers. And it is, for good or ill, a global class leveler. (Those Russians and Indians didn't learn computers without downloading tons of books and software.)

I am not saying that it is RIGHT for people to swipe all intellectual property. I am merely saying that leaps forward in culture come from people getting information without paying for it.

I would guess that the world—the human race in aggregate—has learned as much in the last twenty years as in previous centuries. And it was mostly illegal.


I grew up reading books from the library. Out of a quaint old exception we do not call the library piracy, but it is. There is no real categorical difference between the library buying one DVD to be checked out by 50 people versus the library posting a digital file of the movie on their website... it is *free information*... it is lost hypothetical DVD sales.

But for some reason Ben Franklin thought that some level of theft of book sales was a social benefit. And rightly so. Who could doubt that societies with public libraries are better, more vibrant societies?

The internet was like the ultimate public library. The whole world leaped forward in learning.


And when that ends we will act surprised because we will be hard-pressed to admit that piracy is, for all of its very real ills, also the modern version of libraries and expiration of copyright. (Remember that quaint old notion?)


This is not "pro" piracy. I am not arguing policy, I am observing culture.


The global library is about to close and maybe that is right, but it will most assuredly have effects.

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Response to cthulu2016 (Original post)

Mon Feb 18, 2013, 04:11 PM

1. I doubt very much that the "library" known as the internet will ever close.

However, you make a very good point about the social value of "free" information while simultaneously recognizing that intellectual property has value and needs some protection. Well done.

-Laelth

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Response to cthulu2016 (Original post)

Mon Feb 18, 2013, 04:15 PM

2. today knowledge is cheap

compare the middle ages where monks spent their lives copying books by hand and the vast majority of the population could not read, to today when you can have the greatest libraries the world has ever known in the palm of your hand.

Knowledge is power, you get what you pay for, there are lots of cliches here. Any fool can post anything on the internet, so we will have access to at least bad information.

Graphic artists will have gimp. Rising musicians will give out samples for free. Same with movie makers and writers and so on. There will be those outside the corporate structure who will benefit from the internet in ways that were never possible before.

But right now we have this huge cultural nostaligic musuem. It is like an anthropological goldmine. That silly show from the 70s or that music video from the 80s or that obscure comic from the 90s that you can't quite remember what it is about -somebody on the internet remembered it and catalogued it and you might even be able to find it. We'll lose that.

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Response to cthulu2016 (Original post)

Mon Feb 18, 2013, 04:17 PM

3. The Internet works the other way too.

A musician can directly sell their work without have to involve a studio or distribution company.

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Response to cthulu2016 (Original post)

Mon Feb 18, 2013, 04:18 PM

4. What are the cultural leaps you see coming from folks downloading pop music?

And of those leaps, how many come from materials that are not actually paid for by someone, that is how many leaps come from the stuff people crank out and place on the internet themselves? Isn't almost everything they are taking a product produced with money and for money?
Seems to me the internet is a delivery method more than anything and the content people use is mostly the same forms and sources of content they used prior to the internet, be they paid for or snaked, what folks listen to is pop music, what they watch are 'commercial film and television' and so forth. I sure don't see new streams of content being forged outside the basic economic system nor outside of the legal system.
I'm not impressed with the excuse.

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Response to Bluenorthwest (Reply #4)

Mon Feb 18, 2013, 07:02 PM

9. I'm going to assume from the question you never heard The Grey Album :-)

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Response to cthulu2016 (Original post)

Mon Feb 18, 2013, 04:21 PM

5. Rob Reid: The $8 billion iPod



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Response to cthulu2016 (Original post)

Mon Feb 18, 2013, 04:21 PM

6. Now that they see it's all messy, they're trying to put the toothpaste back in the tube.

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Response to cthulu2016 (Original post)

Mon Feb 18, 2013, 04:33 PM

7. It is copyright law that should change.

These 'piracies' only exist because the government is willing to protect 'intellectual property'. Why should something that has been around for decades still produce an income for someone?

I'm all for people being rewarded for their work, but if I write a book (or a song), and no materials are used to reproduce it; why should I (or whoever owns the copywrite) be compensated every time someone reads or listens to it for decades to come.

We need to modify our protection of these things so that there is a time limit on a 'work' before it just becomes open source.

The way it is now; it's just another way for the government to take the side of the 'haves' against the 'have-nots'.

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Response to cthulu2016 (Original post)

Mon Feb 18, 2013, 06:26 PM

8. "Internet" is a proper noun (as in capitalized). "The internets" is a Bushism.

 

"I like to use the Google to look at the ranch."

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Response to cthulu2016 (Original post)

Mon Feb 18, 2013, 07:18 PM

10. Nice piece - but what are you talking about?? Did I miss something?

What's all this about the "library" closing? Is this just a comment on the usual tension between corporate copyright holders and pretty much everyone else, or are you referring to something more specific?

Scouring the news, even DU, I can't find what you're talking about.

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Response to acamp (Reply #10)

Mon Feb 18, 2013, 07:54 PM

14. Sorry about that. The last year has seen sweeping crackdowns and changes

Most file-sharing websites have been closed. The last few weeks they are starting to move on torrent sites. It's a broad and deep thing that has been accelerating throughout the last year or two.

The Justice Department seizure of domain names... ISPs planning to throttle down the internet usage capability of users who visit sites they identify as associated with copyright violations.

That sort of thing.

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Response to cthulu2016 (Reply #14)

Mon Feb 18, 2013, 09:05 PM

15. Oh, I see what you're saying.

Last edited Mon Feb 18, 2013, 10:50 PM - Edit history (2)

It's a losing battle for government and corporations. Old school media companies will have to adapt or perish. There will always, always be some new technology for sharing media - and there will always be a way around digital rights management.

I'm not too worried about the global library shutting down, and I think you are spot on in your analysis of the benefits of "illegal" Internet. (And this is coming from someone who has made a living in software and entertainment his entire adult life.)

I'm sure there will be some ugly confrontations along the way, but when the dust settles, only the agile will be left standing.

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Response to cthulu2016 (Original post)

Mon Feb 18, 2013, 07:28 PM

11. I use Linux. It's free.

I don't need Microsoft, Apple, or Adobe for anything I do.

The last Microsoft product I paid for was Windows 98SE. I was still using that on my main computer when I first signed onto DU, but that was a long time ago.

For many years now I've simply refused to deal with any intellectual property that's tricked out with legal pitfalls and copy protections.

Occasionally I go to the movies or concerts, and I buy DVDs and paper books, but that's about it. There's more than enough free stuff in the world to keep me busy and entertained without supporting businesses and business models I despise.

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Response to cthulu2016 (Original post)

Mon Feb 18, 2013, 07:31 PM

12. The legal landscape changed as a result of the internet.

Fair use used to include things like recording broadcasts and backing up "our" music onto cassette.

Libraries are under vigorous assault by digital publishers. E books cost libraries much more than a physical book. Why? Because price fixing isn't really considered such a problem by modern government.

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Response to cthulu2016 (Original post)

Mon Feb 18, 2013, 07:34 PM

13. One of the best posts I've seen on DU in awhile. K&R! nt

 

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