This Is Wrong: 'Without The Content Industries, The Internet Would Be Empty'

from the let's-try-that-again dept

One of the annoying things about many in the entertainment industry who want to change the laws and the technology on the internet is that they've shown up late to the party. The internet was originally created as a communications medium, rather than a content one. And, for many years, it worked just fine -- and whatever "content" that was on the web was a part of the communications effort. It's only in the last decade or so (even less for some parts) that the old entertainment industry jumped online with its broadcast media mindset. But, rather than learning to understand and respect the fact that it's a communication medium, where things like sharing content aren't just possible, but the norm and an absolute "good thing," they simply insisted that something must be broken, and that it needed to be fixed.

They looked on the internet not for what it was (and is), but what they wanted it to be. To them, it was just a slightly more interactive version of what they had always done -- and they assumed that everyone would bow down to their wishes, because, obviously, everyone just wants that mass market content.

No statement encapsulates that more than the following, spoken by one Anthony Healy, director of the Australasian Performing Right Association, discussing the various proposals for new copyright laws in New Zealand, where he somehow states with a straight face:
"Without the content industries, the internet would be empty."
Oh really? Why not try it, and let's see. The quote, by the way, was brought to us by Andrew Dubber, who properly calls Healey the "Wrongest Man on the Internet, July 2009." However, this really is how some of these guys think. They don't think that the internet really existed before they discovered it, and they think that everyone logs onto YouTube just to catch the latest TV clips. They don't realize that people use it to communicate and share and collaborate -- and that's a lot more useful than using it to get fed some mass market entertainment junk.

Filed Under: anthony healy, content, copyright, internet, new zealand


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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 20 Jul 2009 @ 9:19pm

    Re: Re:

    Yet, it ends up as digital paper.

    Look at Techdirt. What do you have here? It's the op-ed page with letters from the readers. The only difference is the speed at which the digital paper can print the news. There is nothing new here except speed.

    Remove the initial post (the content), and the rest of it disappears as well. Would we be commenting on a blank page (except maybe to call it a waste of digital paper)?

    Don't confuse your private communications or narrowly focused documentation with public content. In the same way your personal letter to Mommy isn't the same as an op-ed column in a newspaper, your email to Mommy isn't the same as a techdirt post. Technical docs? All you are doing is moving a manual process (reading manuals, pun intended), and turning it into an online process (reading them online). The docs aren't really content per se, because they aren't intended for public reading, and in reality, the same results could be obtained by mailing you a shiny plastic disc.

    When you write your public blog, yes, you have made content. You are part of the content industry. Every heard the term "cottage industry"? That's all you really are. Now, you may not profit from it, but your "FREE!" host is profiting from it in various ways, that much is clear.

    "t's pushing the tired old sham/strawman we've heard from the MPAA, RIAA, newspapers etc... that they impart value to the internet, so the internet owes them something. They omit that they benefit from the internet, and they are not the sole/dominant value providers on the internet."

    Actually, if you removed all music and all movie files from the net, all music reviews, all movie reviews, all the celeb pics, the blogs, the rumor sites, the torrent sites and all that which pushes movies and music, and internet traffic would drop like a stone. They don't own the internet (and I don't think anyone suggests that), but they do represent a big part of what people look at every day. For reference, how many of the top twits on twitter are celebs or movie / music related? Hmmm.

    For me, internet content is like cigarettes. For every smoker that buys loose tabacco and papers and rolls their own, there are tens of thousands of smokers who buy pre-made cancer sticks in pretty boxes and just smoke them. For every person who "creates content" on the internet, there are tens of thousands of consumers only. This site may have a disproportionate number of digital "roll your own" types, but the reality is we are a consumer society and what most people choose to consume online is music, movies, and news (mostly news related to movies and music).

    So in the end, the internet is digital paper for the vast majority of the users, and a very few of us are actually writing anything on it of any meaning.

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