Rewriting Copyright History, The Elitist Way: Compare File Sharers To 9/11 Terrorists
from the stunning dept
Either way, it appears that he's a bit jealous of Hank Williams taking up his role in these debates, as he's finally chimed in on Arrington's original piece, just a few weeks late. Keen's take is so filled with errors that it definitely seems to support the "satire" theory -- and for now we're going to go with that theory, and assume it's the case. But, for a few howlers in the piece, try these on for size:
"Arrington's stance, of course, epitomizes the permissive attitude about intellectual property that has already destroyed the music business and is now threatening to kill the holy trinity that includes Hollywood, the television industry, and the book trade."This would be the music industry that is seeing every single aspect of its business on the upswing (other than the sale of plastic discs)? This would be Hollywood that had its best year ever in 2007? Ah, right. Destroyed, huh? This is "professional" content at work.
In 1999, when Napster first assaulted the recorded music industry with its peer-to-peer technology, we heard similarly open-minded nonsense from Web 1.0 moguls like MP3.com founder Michael Robertson and Public Enemy's Chuck D. Almost 10 years later, the catastrophic consequences of Napster's mass piracy are all too tragically evident. In 1997, global recorded music sales were $45 billion. By next year, it is estimated that they will have fallen to around $23 billion -- an almost 50 percent drop in sales in a little more than a single decade.This is classic Keen. Total misdirection in how you define the market and selective quoting of facts. You see, markets for obsolete products shrink, but the overall market is not shrinking. It's like the analyst reports that whined about the market for "PDAs" shrinking just as smartphones were taking over. Did we say that smartphones destroyed the market for PDAs or did we just recognize that the market evolved? Keen leaves out the fact that concert revenue is at record highs. He leaves out the fact that more people today are making music than ever before in history, and more people are able to listen to more music than ever before in history. By any real measure, it would appear the music industry is thriving, even if the obsolete part (selling recordings) is fading.
And, then, there's Keen's coup de grace, comparing those who want to listen to music to the 9/11 terrorists in a sentence riddled with errors:
"The truth, of course, is that the theft of digital content is no more "natural" than holding up little old ladies on street-corners or crashing civilian airliners into tall buildings. And it's the responsibility of thought-leaders like Arrington to use their privileged positions to educate the innocent about the evils of digital thievery."
- Error 1: Calling infringement "theft."
- Error 2: Saying that it's irresponsible for someone who notices that the majority of the population is breaking a law to suggest that perhaps it's time to rethink that law.
- Error 3: Suggesting actions done by the majority of the population is the equivalent of the 9/11 hijackers.
- Error 4: Saying that any "thought-leader" has a "responsibility" to take a particular stand
- Error 5: Saying that infringement is a problem of "innocents" run wild.
- Error 6: Putting a moral angle ("evil") on an issue that is merely one of business models
We'll finish it off one more howler:
By stating his opposition to criminalizing "natural behavior," Arrington is not only legitimizing online theft, but he is also undermining the credibility of entertainment companies, such as Hulu or Blinkbox that have invested major resources into building entirely legal Web businesses. Defending YouTube's flagrant disregard for intellectual property laws is tantamount to justifying criminal behavior....Ah, you see, in Keen's satirical world, companies like Hulu and Blinkbox that offer up professionally produced content deserve to have their business models protected by the government and criminal laws. But those that support amateur content are criminal enterprises. The fact that Keen seems unable to grasp the difference between a service provider and a user in terms of criminal liability is the least of the problems here. The fact that Keen seems unable to grasp the fact that these are merely different business models for distributing content -- and the one he dislikes is winning in the market -- suggests an unwillingness to actually understand what's happening here.
What it comes down to is that folks like Keen and Williams have decided that there's a certain class of content that "counts," and that's "professional" content. All other content is a problem -- especially if it interferes with an obsolete business model. Basically, they've decided that they like one particular (poor and increasingly obsolete) business model for a particular group of companies, and decided that interference with that business model must be a crime -- even if the end result is exactly the opposite of what they predict (i.e., there's more content being produced today than ever before -- it's just that it's happening using a very different model than the one they like). Luckily, we live in a world where business models adapt and change, and the companies and pundits unwilling to do so will simply fade away.