Mark Waid Explains: Culture Is More Important Than Copyright & It's Time To Look For Opportunities In Sharing
from the say-that-again dept
We recently wrote about comic book writer Mark Waid's supposedly controversial keynote speech at the Harvey Awards, where he talked about copyright, the public domain and learning to embrace file sharing. Beyond the general controversy, a lot of people apparently misinterpreted his talk to be anti-copyright and anti-making money (we get that a lot around here too). So he's now posted a written out version of his talk that seeks to clarify many of his points (thanks to Robert Ring for sending this in). It's a great read, and hits on many of the points that we normally talk about here. Specifically, copyright is supposed to benefit the public and that file sharing isn't going away, so you're better off embracing it and using it to your advantage, rather than whining about it. Nice to see more people recognizing this. It also has a great line:
culture is more important than copyrightI'm trying to understand anyone who would disagree with this statement, but so often we hear people say that they have to defend their copyrights "on principle," even if not defending them is better for culture. But the key point of his article is that fearing file sharing and attacking it doesn't help. It doesn't stop it from happening and it provides no real advantage to those doing the attacking. So he suggests it's time to figure out ways to turn it into an opportunity:
Like it or not, downloading is here. Torrents and filesharing are here. That's not going away. I'm not here to attack it or defend it--I'm not going to change anyone's mind either way, and everyone in America at this point has anecdotal evidence "proving" how it hurts or helps the medium--but I am here to say it isn't going away--and fear of it, fear of filesharing, fear of illegal downloading, fear of how the internet changes publishing in the 21st century, that's a legitimate fear, because we're all worried about putting food on the table and leaving a legacy for our children, but we're using our energy on something we can't stop, because filesharing is not going away.Great stuff. Definitely go read the whole thing. He also mentions that he's got some plans in place for how he's going to embrace things like BitTorrent and run some interesting experiments. He points out that they're experiments, and there's no guarantee they'll work, but he wants to step forward and at least try to embrace it. This is great to hear, and I look forward to seeing what kind of experiments he runs.
And I'll tell you why. It's not because people "like stealing." It's because the greatest societal change in the last five years is that we are entering an era of sharing. Twitter and YouTube and Facebook--they're all about sharing. Sharing links, sharing photographs, sending some video of some cat doing something stupid--that's the era we're entering. And whether or not you're sharing things that technically aren't yours to share, whether or not you're angry because you see this as a "generation of entitlement," that's not the issue--the issue is, it's happening, and the internet's ability to reward sharing has reignited this concept that the public domain has cultural value. And I understand if you are morally outraged about it and you believe to your core that an entire generation is criminal and they're taking food off your table, I respect that.
But moral outrage is often how we deal with fear. It's a false sense of empowerment in the face of fear.