If Piracy Is So Devastating, Why Are We Seeing An Unprecedented Outpouring Of Creativity?

from the what-was-the-problem-again? dept

One of the favorite tropes of the anti-piracy crowd is that all this unauthorized sharing is killing culture, pauperizing artists and generally making the world go to hell in a handbasket. The only pieces of evidence adduced in support of that position are the market reports put together for the copyright industries that (a) say the sky is falling and (b) base that analysis on the industries' own unsubstantiated claims.

In fact, as we know, for all of the copyright industries, the Sky is Rising. But that's only half the story, for alongside the traditional distribution channels, there are now entirely new ways in which people can create and share their creations. These have only emerged in the last few years, and so there is a natural tendency to underestimate their importance. But gradually figures are emerging that hint at the extraordinary scale of the creativity they foster.

For example, user uploads to YouTube are now running at one hour of videos every second -- that's 86,400 hours every day, and over thirty million hours per year. Now, a portion of that content may be copyright material -- but only some, and probably not much. That's because Google has been employing its Content ID system for some time now:

What is Content ID?

YouTube's state-of-the-art technologies let rights owners:

Identify user-uploaded videos comprised entirely OR partially of their content and

Choose, in advance, what they want to happen when those videos are found. Make money from them. Get stats on them. Or block them from YouTube altogether.

It's up to you.

How does Content ID work?

Rights holders deliver YouTube reference files (audio-only or video) of content that they own, metadata describing that content, and policies on what they want YouTube to do when we find a match.

We compare videos uploaded to YouTube against those reference files.

Our technology automatically identifies your content and applies your preferred policy: monetise, track or block.
What the use of Google's Content ID means is that the stuff copyright companies care about is already being caught. What's left varies from high-art mashups to how-to manuals to cat videos. But whatever it is, there's lots of it, with millions of hours of new content being uploaded every year.

Tumblr hosts a different kind of user-generated content, but with similarly huge holdings. It currently has over 20 billion posts on 51 million blogs, and each day, over 60 million more are added:

The average Tumblr user creates 14 original posts each month, and reblogs 3. Half of those posts are photos. The rest are split between text, links, quotes, music, and video.
Again, some of the music and video shared on Tumblr may be unauthorized sharing, but much of that creativity -- the photos, text and links -- almost certainly isn't.

Meanwhile, on a site that most people have forgotten about, assuming they'd ever heard about it in the first place, content in the form of wikis is being produced in ever-greater quantities:

Listed among the top 10 social networks and blogs in the U.S. by Nielsen in 2011, Wikia sees nearly 50 million global unique visitors per month, has over 339,000 communities (600 new ones added daily), and is witnessing 42% traffic growth year-over-year.

More specifically, gaming and entertainment communities have been Wikia’s bread and butter. The site hosts over 65k game wikis with 2.48M game pages. Elder Scrolls, for example has 8k+ content pages and it would take a month to read them all at 5 minutes per page.
Putting these kind of figures together with the daily output of hundreds of millions of users on Twitter and its Chinese analogs -- to say nothing of the near-billion Facebookers -- and what emerges is a ferment of creativity the likes of which the world has never seen before. So how can this be squared with the repeated claims that piracy is somehow leading to the death of culture?

I think the answer is that in the eyes of many commentators all this activity simply "doesn't count". That is, a video on YouTube is not "real" art, and a Tumblr post is not "real" literature. So when people complain that piracy is "killing" culture, what they are really expressing is their own incomprehension in the face of this new kind of art.

To admit that piracy isn't a problem, because it seems to be leading to more, not less creativity, would be to admit that the huge outpourings of user-generated content are indeed art, some of it even rather good art. And that, rather than any supposed harm from unauthorized sharing of copyright materials, is what many seem to fear. For the copyright industries and cultural commentators it calls into question their ability to make aesthetic judgments -- and hence money -- while for the artists, it questions their privileged position in society, and the special role of their art there.

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  1.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 10th, 2012 @ 5:26am

    'piracy' never has been a problem anywhere except in the minds of the elite few in charge of the entertainment industries. in reality, it has always been a matter of not having total control but has been dubbed 'piracy' to make it sound better when trying to convince governments to preserve an outdated business model and way of life!

     

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    TasMot (profile), Apr 10th, 2012 @ 5:33am

    Because I am a gatekeeper and I Know Better

    The legacy gatekeepers have gotten so full of themselves that they are the only ones who know what art is, that they truly believe that no one else can. How many very good artists have fallen by the wayside becuase they can't get recognition by the gatekeepers (look up the story of the band Crack the Sky for another one).

    The more quickly the legacy gatekeepers can be routed around, the better off we will all be.

     

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    Zakida Paul (profile), Apr 10th, 2012 @ 5:55am

    Keeping creative work locked in a vault and limiting the number of people who can access it is killing culture and pauperising artists.

     

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    Michael, Apr 10th, 2012 @ 6:09am

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0rmc4PUb4cg

    Content ID is a way to scam independent content creators by allowing corporations to A) claim their works as their own and B) syphon ad revenue.

     

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    bob, Apr 10th, 2012 @ 6:20am

    Oh, it all depends upon how you measure it

    It all depends upon what you call creativity. If you want to sing a grand song about the success of the Internet, you might look at cat videos that show cats doing clever things. Why the number of these videos has soared. If you think this is creative-- and I'm sure some cat lovers feel it is -- well then there's been a burst of creativity.

    But let's say that you measure creativity by the release of independent films. Well, things haven't been so good for people who are looking for distributors. Once again, there was plenty of disappointment at Sundance. This revenue has been dropping for years and the only bright spot is the bright spot that's coming increased revenues from Video On Demand paywalls.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/28/movies/sundance-films-fall-short-of-expectations.html

    I happen to like to watch well-acted films made by professional crews who are great at what they do. They're not worried about their day job. They're not using their brother's cell phone as a camera. They've got enough income to treat the movie seriously. That's creativity to me and I can tell you that piracy is destroying it.

    But then you might think creativity is cat videos. If that's the case, we're in the middle of a real renaissance.

    Personally I think you're foolish to measure creativity by counting the number of uploads to YouTube. First, many are just re-uploads that don't count as ANYTHING new at all. People are just uploading pirated versions of songs often accompanied by pirated photographs.

    The weird thing is that the more that YouTube takes down videos, the more that the pirates will upload them again, spinning the dials faster and making it look like there's even more creativity than ever. Alas, it's a mirage.

    Now I feel compelled to say something positive about the clever videos put out by real artists who are not professional. There's no doubt that the web has made their life easier and we're all better of for it. But this success has nothing to do with piracy at all.

    Don't mix up correlation with causation.

     

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    Jeff (profile), Apr 10th, 2012 @ 6:31am

    Re: Oh, it all depends upon how you measure it

    Paywall boB!! So nice of you to stop by and enlighten us with your witty words of wisdom. After reading your nuggets of insight, I am refreshed and ready to face the day!

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 10th, 2012 @ 6:40am

    "If Piracy Is So Devastating, Why Are We Seeing An Unprecedented Outpouring Of Creativity?"

    No no no no no ... I think you miss the point. Competition is devastating, to incumbent government established monopolists.

     

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    John Doe, Apr 10th, 2012 @ 6:44am

    Re: Oh, it all depends upon how you measure it

    Ah yes, lets cherry pick cat videos and independent films. That surely must be a representative sample. Or, we could say that creativity and content covers a broad spectrum, which it does, and then view that as this blog post actually did. You can't point to one type of content and whine about its problems. It is up to the market to decide and if it decides that 2 minute cat videos are more desirable than 90 minute independent films, then so be it. You, like the RIAA and MPAA want to control the entire market to push just your agenda rather than let the market dictate what gets made. While that might work in the short run, it won't in the long run.

     

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    Lowestofthekeys (profile), Apr 10th, 2012 @ 6:46am

    Re: Oh, it all depends upon how you measure it

    "But let's say that you measure creativity by the release of independent films. Well, things haven't been so good for people who are looking for distributors. Once again, there was plenty of disappointment at Sundance. This revenue has been dropping for years and the only bright spot is the bright spot that's coming increased revenues from Video On Demand paywalls."

    I don't think you understand that when something is creative, is won't necessarily win over critics and get funding from movie studios. The movie studios are gatekeepers, meaning they decide what creative works they think they can make the most money from.

    So the real problem is Hollywood as they inhibit creative works whether bad or good from being distributed based on their opinion.

    By the way, there's a reason creativity is related to "creating." That's his point about the Youtube videos. People are creating more than ever before because they don't have to run everything by the Hollywood gatekeepers to get it out there.

     

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    Phil, Apr 10th, 2012 @ 6:47am

    It's stupid to compare the the vast majority of the kind of crap that people are uploading to youtube or blogs to actual content. That's a real stretch.

     

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    Lowestofthekeys (profile), Apr 10th, 2012 @ 6:47am

    Re: Oh, it all depends upon how you measure it

    "But let's say that you measure creativity by the release of independent films. Well, things haven't been so good for people who are looking for distributors. Once again, there was plenty of disappointment at Sundance. This revenue has been dropping for years and the only bright spot is the bright spot that's coming increased revenues from Video On Demand paywalls."

    I don't think you understand that when something is creative, is won't necessarily win over critics and get funding from movie studios. The movie studios are gatekeepers, meaning they decide what creative works they think they can make the most money from.

    So the real problem is Hollywood as they inhibit creative works whether bad or good from being distributed based on their opinion.

    By the way, there's a reason creativity is related to "creating." That's his point about the Youtube videos. People are creating more than ever before because they don't have to run everything by the Hollywood gatekeepers to get it out there.

     

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    Phil, Apr 10th, 2012 @ 6:51am

    Re: Re: Oh, it all depends upon how you measure it

    "The Market" as a capitalist wet dream ceases to function when price signals are broken, for example when things become available for free regardless of the intent of the people who manufacture them. So expecting "The Market" to decide anything in a world with rampant piracy is a joke.

     

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    Phil, Apr 10th, 2012 @ 6:54am

    Re: Oh, it all depends upon how you measure it

    Bob is telling the truth. Calling the homemade crap on youtube "content" is a retarded joke.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 10th, 2012 @ 6:54am

    Re:

    I completely agree. Heavy metal isn't real music. It's just noise and people shouting about death and misery and other such nonsense.

    Oh, wait, what were we talking about?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 10th, 2012 @ 6:54am

    Re: Oh, it all depends upon how you measure it

    Precisely. The success has nothing to do with piracy's supposed ill effects. Therefore whatever ill effects you insist should have devastated the industry since cassette tapes and the VCR are, at best, ruthlessly, relentlessly and ridiculously exaggerated.

     

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    Lowestofthekeys (profile), Apr 10th, 2012 @ 6:55am

    Re: Re: Oh, it all depends upon how you measure it

    That's a nice over generalization of Youtube content.

     

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    Zakida Paul (profile), Apr 10th, 2012 @ 6:57am

    Re: Oh, it all depends upon how you measure it

    Creativity is the art of creating a piece of work for the pure love of film/music/writing and not with the sole intention of making money. Just because something is rejected by Hollywood it does not mean that it is not a great work of art, it just means that it can't be marketed into a generic watered down product. For true creativity, you need to look to independent film makers and musicians and not the generic mass produced mainstream.

     

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    Zakida Paul (profile), Apr 10th, 2012 @ 6:59am

    Re: Re:

    "Heavy metal isn't real music. It's just noise and people shouting about death and misery and other such nonsense."

    I hope that's a joke because the majority of proper metal music is a joy to behold.

     

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  19.  
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    Mitch Featherston, Apr 10th, 2012 @ 7:01am

    Big Media...

    This is an excellent post with good, solid data, but BIG MEDIA (Hollywood) will say that user-generated content is not all that good... of course, I disagree. UGC can be good, and the main thing is that ANYONE can create today.

    YouTube alone levels many playing fields, but still, Hollywood dislikes anything other than what it creates. Of course Hollywood gave us such gems as "Sucker Punch" and "Dude, Where's My Car?" -- such awesome stuff that deserves 95 years of "protection."

     

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  20.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 10th, 2012 @ 7:02am

    Re: Re: Re:

    I was trying to be sarcastic.

    I apologise for any increase in blood pressure my post might have caused.

     

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    John Doe, Apr 10th, 2012 @ 7:08am

    Re: Re: Re: Oh, it all depends upon how you measure it

    The market also gets broken when dying industries pay the government for protectionist laws. Expecting dying industries to decide anything is even more of a joke. The digital cat is out of the bag, or in the video, and he ain't going back in.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 10th, 2012 @ 7:13am

    Re: Oh, it all depends upon how you measure it

    "It all depends upon what you call creativity."

    Ah yes, "it all depends". I was wondering who would be the first to say such a thing. The fact that it was bob is not something I expected, but I'm not completely surprised.

    Bob, creativity is creativity. Period. Whether it's cat videos (which obviously you're no fan of) or the latest bubble gum pop music playing on all the pop stations (which I'm no fan of).

    You're trying to spin it to "well, I don't think it's creative thus it doesn't count as creative". That's not how it works. As I said, creativity is creativity. Besides, I'm surprised you even know what's coming out of Sundance. Aren't you aware that Sundance is one giant paywall? You have to use gas to go to it. Or use electricity to read about it. Either by buying certain magazines/papers or online. It's one giant paywall scheme! Sundance is like paywall hell. And you're partaking? For shame.

    "Now I feel compelled to say something positive about the clever videos put out by real artists who are not professional. There's no doubt that the web has made their life easier and we're all better of for it."

    Oh, now you feel compelled? You are aware some of these "real" artists "who are not professional" started off by making "cat videos" (or something similar)? Or by blogging about random nonsense that most people (or you at the very least) would say is inane and not creative at all.

    bob, do the world and art and creativity a favor and do shut up. You only look stupider.

     

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  23.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 10th, 2012 @ 7:18am

    Re:

    Having watched all the videos on youtube just this morning I would have to say that the majority is actually videos about your mother.

     

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  24.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 10th, 2012 @ 7:19am

    Re: Oh, it all depends upon how you measure it

    Bobs just mad that all that bread is being wasted on cats when he could be feeding it to the ducks at the park.

     

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    Keroberos (profile), Apr 10th, 2012 @ 7:21am

    I think the answer is that in the eyes of many commentators all this activity simply "doesn't count".
    I think a closer answer would be; "All this activity doesn't make us money, and distracts those who we think would give us more money if they had no other choice".

     

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  26.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 10th, 2012 @ 7:23am

    Re: Re:

    Blue Spy: "...No. That would be YOUR MOTHER. D:

     

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  27.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 10th, 2012 @ 7:23am

    Crack the Sky? Are you kidding?

    Even then (the late 70's, iirc), I was a huge music fan and consumer. I owned thousands of records and spent my life at gigs and immersed in music. I knew famous musicians and even played in a band.

    If ever they was a foul, bitter-tasting record-company-hyped contrivance in rock, Crack the Sky was it. They were the broccoli casserole of rock and roll.

    I and some friends were given free copies of their first album, free t-shirts (iirc) and free attendance to (and free beer at) at their record company-hosted (was it Columbia?) kick-off gig in my (no, not Chicago, but a very major other) city and had to sit through the hideous torture of the Polumbo and company self-indulgent noise-fest that they tried to pass off as a "performance". Most people hated the show and, like me, hated that record. I despised them and NEVER gave them another chance. They were awful.

    Bottom line, their "music" and the act were contrived and sucked almost as bad as disco did back them. They totally lacked legitimacy and sounded horrid. I NEVER listened to the whole first album the one and only time I tried, even though I got it for free.

    Let me repeat: They weren't just a bland contrivance - Crack the Sky SUCKED BIG EFFING ROCKS.

    Let's talk about a real band instead of garbage. There are thousands of fine examples of great artists bands that were rejected by the lying no-talent brain-dead musically-challenged money-changers and quick-buck artists at record companies.

    Let's start with the Beatles - rejected as having "no commercial potential" by some tone-deaf moron at Decca records in the early 60's!

     

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    John Doe, Apr 10th, 2012 @ 7:27am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Oh, it all depends upon how you measure it

    Wow, as if it was on queue, here is an article that makes my point completely:

    Lobbying is Extortion

     

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  29.  
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    Your Name Here, Apr 10th, 2012 @ 7:29am

    Crack the Sky? Are you kidding?

    Even then (the late 70's, iirc), I was a huge music fan and consumer. I owned thousands of records and spent my life at gigs and immersed in music. I knew famous musicians and even played in a band.

    If ever they was a foul, bitter-tasting record-company-hyped contrivance in rock, Crack the Sky was it. They were the broccoli casserole of rock and roll.

    I and some friends were given free copies of their first album, free t-shirts (iirc) and free attendance to (and free beer at) at their record company-hosted (was it Columbia?) kick-off gig in my (no, not Chicago, but a very major other) city and had to sit through the hideous torture of the Polumbo and company self-indulgent noise-fest that they tried to pass off as a "performance". Most people hated the show and, like me, hated that record. I despised them and NEVER gave them another chance. They were awful.

    Bottom line, their "music" and the act were contrived and sucked almost as bad as disco did back them. They totally lacked legitimacy and sounded horrid. I NEVER listened to the whole first album the one and only time I tried, even though I got it for free.

    Let me repeat: They weren't just a bland contrivance - Crack the Sky SUCKED BIG EFFING ROCKS.

    Let's talk about a real band instead of garbage. There are thousands of fine examples of great artists bands that were rejected by the lying no-talent brain-dead musically-challenged money-changers and quick-buck artists at record companies.

    Let's start with the Beatles - rejected as having "no commercial potential" by some tone-deaf moron at Decca records in the early 60's!

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 10th, 2012 @ 7:37am

    Re: Oh, it all depends upon how you measure it

    "Personally I think you're foolish to measure creativity by counting the number of uploads to YouTube. First, many are just re-uploads that don't count as ANYTHING new at all. People are just uploading pirated versions of songs often accompanied by pirated photographs.

    The weird thing is that the more that YouTube takes down videos, the more that the pirates will upload them again, spinning the dials faster and making it look like there's even more creativity than ever. Alas, it's a mirage."

    Care to provide any credible links with related statistics to support that what you describe here is happening at any relevant percentage? I didn't think so.

    "Now I feel compelled to say something positive about the clever videos put out by real artists who are not professional. There's no doubt that the web has made their life easier and we're all better of for it. But this success has nothing to do with piracy at all."

    So your definition of "professional" is anyone in the inner circle of the Content Cartels then right? If we are better for it then why are the Cartels trying to destroy them?

    http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20110322/04313013586/how-mpaa-screws-over-indie-filmmakers .shtml

    And piracy provides one thing for indie film makers that the Cartels refuse to provide them, publicity. Take for instance the way South Park ended up being the success that it was. The file sharing and web posting of The Spirit of Christmas was EXACTLY what caused their success. Without it they would not have been known.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/South_park

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 10th, 2012 @ 7:40am

    Re:

    Ah yes, another bob/stooge saying "I don't like it so it's not worth mentioning or even comparing".

    Whether you like it or not, crap or not, it is still content and it is still creative. That's the point of the article. People are creating more than at any other point in history. And sharing it freely. And this, despite the fact that most aren't getting paid to do so.

    I think a rather large percentage of the "actual content" offered by Hollywood is "crap". Thus, it is crap and not actual content. Why? Because I say so. And my opinion makes it fact. (See what I did there? I did what you did.)

    What's a "real stretch" is the logic and leaps and bounds you and your kind make to discredit anything/everything you don't like or approve of. Quite sad/creative.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 10th, 2012 @ 7:57am

    "If Copyright Is So Devastating, Why Are We Seeing An Unprecedented Outpouring Of Creativity?"

    FTFY.

    Glyn, I know you try hard, but come on - the outpouring of content has nothing to do with piracy (plus or minus) and has everything to do with the availability of better, cheaper tools. Piracy won't stop idiots like Marcus making bad music because they have the tools to do it.

    Quantity doesn't equal quality, and right now we are seriously lacking in quality.

     

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    Lowestofthekeys (profile), Apr 10th, 2012 @ 8:03am

    Re:

    You do know the reason quality is lacking in music is because the market is saturated with it?

    It's the separation of the wheat and chaff, and since programs like American Idol detail the glamour of being a musician, more and more people are trying to flex their musical biceps...even if their sound is cookie cutter.

     

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    Phlebas, Apr 10th, 2012 @ 8:08am

    I'm with Bob. I don't agree with IP, or at least I believe that a responsible government would radically reduce its scope and invasiveness; however, it is true that quality content of an original, creative nature on Youtube is scarce and therefore hours-of-new-Youtube-footage isn't a particularly apt criterion for gauging whether humanity is currently experiencing an "unprecedented outpouring of creativity".

    Surely the best means of comparing the creativity of today with that of previous eras is to list and judge the quality of the greatest works of literature, art, music, film, technology, science, philosophy etc. in comparison to previous decades. Which writers of today compare to Tolstoy, Joyce or Shakespeare? Who is our Mozart, Bach or Beethoven? &c.

     

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    RT Cunningham (profile), Apr 10th, 2012 @ 8:13am

    What Piracy?

    While I was pirating my favorite TV show*, I paid attention to the locations of the peers that were part of the swarm. I would guestimate there was less than 1% of them originating from the US. Almost all of my fellow pirates were from other countries, countries that are blocked from watching them any other way.

    Yes, I have attempted to get my weekly fix the legal way and in every instance, my country wasn't authorized. Now, to be honest, they'll probably be broadcast on my local cable network sometime before 2020, but that's beside the point. I am more than willing to pay to get my TV fix here in the Philippines, but I'm not willing to wait until someone else says it's okay to broadcast them where I live or even sell DVDs of them.

    The *AAs are targeting the wrong people. There actually are gangs of thieving** copyright fiends who make something like a 2% profit and they're untouchable.

    Just my 2 cents.

    * I'm American and I started watching this show when I still lived in the US. Why does being in a different country prohibit me from even paying?

    ** Copyright infringement != theft, regardless of the idiots that say so.

     

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    el_segfaulto (profile), Apr 10th, 2012 @ 8:19am

    Re: Re: Oh, it all depends upon how you measure it

    I just watched a nifty SciFi movie that I hadn't heard of before. The Man From Earth. It was made in 2007 (I think...) and written by Jerome Bixby (of Star Trek fame). There were no special effects, just a man telling a story to his friends. And it was better than any Michael Bay action-fest with a budget higher than the combined GDP of South America.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 10th, 2012 @ 8:22am

    Re:

    AC, I know you try hard, but the point is according to people like you piracy, as rampant and evil as it is, WILL destroy ALL creative output. Why? Well, if no one can make money because people get content for free, why are they going to create? I.e. they won't, at all.

    That's the argument you and your type make.

    Regardless, what we are seeing is that creativity is flourishing, despite such "the sky is falling"/"piracy will doom us all" claims. Which is the point of the article. That despite YOUR claims, people are still creating. Even if they're not making any money off it. Whether or not it is "quality" is irrelevant. What's "quality" to one may very well not be to another.

    Also, just the other day you were telling Leigh/Marcus you do not care or even think about an insignificant speck like him, yet here YOU are bringing him up in an article he didn't write or even comment in. Me thinks thou doth have a thing for Marcus. An unhealthy thing.

     

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  38.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 10th, 2012 @ 8:35am

    you not really seeing an unprecedented outpouring, it has always been like this, just the new technology lets you see what the world is doing, not just the locals in your town or area

    kind of a lame arguement for your piracy views

     

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  39.  
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    Gwiz (profile), Apr 10th, 2012 @ 8:36am

    Re: Re: Oh, it all depends upon how you measure it

    Bob is telling the truth. Calling the homemade crap on youtube "content" is a retarded joke.

    Well thank you Phil for that elitist and subjective evaluation.

    Personally, I find most of the crap spewing from Hollywood these days to be an insult to my intelligence and would rather watch the cat videos because at least they are funny.

     

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  40.  
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    Phlebas, Apr 10th, 2012 @ 8:37am

    To clarify, let's be precise about the meaning of "creativity". A definition that works well for me - if I may expropriate Yudkowsky's "IP" :) - is "low in search order, high in preference order".

    Many Youtube videos represent a pattern that isn't entirely trivial or commonplace; they are "low in search order", they often can't be accurately guessed before the play button is pressed, or as the video is ongoing. However, they tend to fall down on the "high in preference order" part. I might watch the odd one, but I can't say that a cat video or a video of someone's F1 2012 race stacks up against a new novel by Nabokov or a new film directed by Hitchcock.

    Therefore, hours of Youtube video might represent a massive amount of a rather dilute form of creativity, but what we are really interested in when discussing the concept of IP is high-quality creativity, which is both distinctly low in search order and very high in preference order - not just "barely high enough to tolerate". That is my objection to the argument put forth in this particular article - the author has made insufficiently discriminative use of the mildly ambiguous word "creativity".

     

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  41.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 10th, 2012 @ 8:39am

    Re: Re: Re: Oh, it all depends upon how you measure it

    I was out with friends the other day, and guess how many references to Sundance films we made? That's right, zero!

    Guess how many references to YouTube videos we made? That's right, way more than zero!

     

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  42.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 10th, 2012 @ 8:40am

    Re: Re: Oh, it all depends upon how you measure it

    That's offensive to the homemade crap in my toilet. Still doesn't make bob right.

     

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  43.  
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    Watchit (profile), Apr 10th, 2012 @ 8:45am

    You forgot art, Glynn, there are lot of art blogs on Tumblr too! :D

     

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  44.  
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    BigKeithO (profile), Apr 10th, 2012 @ 9:13am

    Re: Big Media...

    Hey now, I liked Sucker Punch. I suggest watching it again strictly for the slutty little outfits. Pure gold I say!

     

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  45.  
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    bshock, Apr 10th, 2012 @ 9:15am

    Can we please stop using the media dinosaur terminology?

    Okay, so we agree that "piracy" actually contributes to creativity and culture and all manner of good, constructive, healthy things?

    Fine. So let's stop buying into the fossilized Big Content frame and call most "piracy" what it really is: "sharing."

    Human beings like to share things. It benefits us to share things. It makes us feel good to share things. Sharing is the fundamental basis of culture.

    Sharing is good.

    Calling it "piracy" is just moronic.

     

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  46.  
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    FamiLIAR, Apr 10th, 2012 @ 9:30am

    Is Joe really saying my cat video isn't creative ;-(

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OesN8_DMjJo

     

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  47.  
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    Lord Binky, Apr 10th, 2012 @ 9:36am

    Re:

    'Piracy' is just a scapegoat, it's a boogey man of failure. Just like 'The Internet' or 'TV'... oh and 'Books.' I guess I wasnít important enough to get invited to the seminar that tells you to just look in a mirror and chant like it is a mantra. "It is never you're fault. You always would have done better if it wasn't for Piracy." (or whatever scapegoat of choice is)

     

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  48.  
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    MrWilson, Apr 10th, 2012 @ 9:55am

    Re:

    Piracy is only an issue if you have no talent.

    Middleman: "They're stealing the stuff I swindled from the artists with a contract and lawyer!"

    Talentless Hack: "They're stealing the crap I spewed in my spare time while trying to market more vampire romance to teenagers!"

    Talented Artist: "They love my work!"

     

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  49.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 10th, 2012 @ 10:28am

    Re:

    To create anything is creative. He is not judging the level of the works just saying there is a massive amount of creation going on and being released for free, despite the cries that piracy will stop creativity and no one will create if they do not have access to a monopoly system that guarantees there children will receive money from their creation well after they are dead.

    Sure there is a lot of crap on you tube noone would ever argue otherwise. But there are also creative original works on there. The Guild, Nuka-Break, and Extra Creditz all spring quickly to my mind but there are plenty of other truly original shows and content on there.

    When you ask where is the Tolstoy and Hitchcock I will answer: wait, it is a budding medium. Youtube and homemade/ametuer user-generated content is still young. Just as the first couple decades and new medium generates mostly garbage so has youtube and its ilk. But it is maturing and there is some very high quality content out there.

    For every Citizen Kane there are hundreds of Transformer 2: Dark of the Moons. For every quality original youtube video there are hundreds of kids getting kicked in the nuts and cats in stupid outfits. The are more hours of youtube footage then all English films every made, so the pile of junk surrounding the diamonds is even deeper.

    But there is quality work in there even though that isn't the point, the point is creation is happening.

     

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  50.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 10th, 2012 @ 10:32am

    Re:

    "Quantity doesn't equal quality, and right now we are seriously lacking in quality."

    And how many quality original works did hollywood produce this year? The had some decent remakes and rehashes, and they bought a couple decent original works from ametuers at Sundance. But the rest may as well just be Michael Bay shitting on a cat.

     

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  51.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 10th, 2012 @ 10:32am

    Quotable.

    "To admit that piracy isn't a problem, because it seems to be leading to more, not less creativity, would be to admit that the huge outpourings of user-generated content are indeed art, some of it even rather good art. And that, rather than any supposed harm from unauthorized sharing of copyright materials, is what many seem to fear." -- Glyn Moody

    That's the most quotable statement I've heard in a very long time.

     

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  52.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 10th, 2012 @ 10:33am

    Re:

    That's kind of funny that you mention that, because I feel the exact same way about piracy. Piracy is no more rampant now than it was 30 years ago. The copyright industries can just see it now (pretty hard to see how many people are sneaker-netting tapes to their neighbors).

     

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  53.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 10th, 2012 @ 10:35am

    Re: Re: Oh, it all depends upon how you measure it

    They don't decide what is "creative" hell they don't want creative things. They want formulas that have worked before tied to previously successful IP.

    No one at a major studio wants to take a risk or cares about creating art. Its all marketing and replication.

     

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  54.  
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    Chosen Reject (profile), Apr 10th, 2012 @ 10:52am

    Re: Re: Re: Oh, it all depends upon how you measure it

    Tell us, which part of government enforced monopolies plays into the free market? Did the market ask for copyrights or were those price signals broken by publishers asking for government help to avoid the inevitable market?

     

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  55.  
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    Phlebas, Apr 10th, 2012 @ 11:05am

    >To create anything is creative. He is not judging the level of the works just saying there is a massive amount of creation going on and being released for free, despite the cries that piracy will stop creativity

    Again I must object that if this is taken to be the author's argument then it is weak, because such a conception or definition of "creativity" isn't terribly relevant to the issues of IP and infringement. That is to say, I contend that the first "creativity" you mention and the latter "creativity" (which infringement allegedly undermines) are somewhat different things in the minds of the people who use the expression "creativity" in a particular context, but which are merely susceptible to be referred to both using the same vague word.

    >When you ask where is the Tolstoy and Hitchcock I will answer: wait, it is a budding medium. Youtube and homemade/amateur user-generated content is still young.

    Quite possibly. However, the article under which we are commenting makes the bold claim that "we are [i.e. currently] seeing an unprecedented outpouring of creativity". This is not a prediction or promise, but a claim about today's Youtube-spawned art.

    >For every Citizen Kane there are hundreds of Transformers 2: Dark of the Moon.

    True. "90% of everything is crap", as the saying goes. But has Youtube ever produced something that bears comparison to Citizen Kane, or any other cherished work? The problem is that 90% of everything may always be (relatively) crap, but the average quality of content of a given provenance is an additional concern. If this is too low, then even the best 10% of material furnished by some particular source is yet of little value.

    I should add that the quality of art being produced by the IP-protected industries at the present time is also rather poor; in any case I am not a fan of IP. I nonetheless am not impressed by Moody's argument here.

     

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  56.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 10th, 2012 @ 11:58am

    Re:

    " I contend that the first "creativity" you mention and the latter "creativity" (which infringement allegedly undermines) are somewhat different things in the minds of the people who use the expression "creativity" in a particular context"

    Maybe,I would also say that half of the crap on youtube is more creative than the majority of the content produced by the industry. So I don't really care what is in the minds of the people arguing over the woes of piracy. Creativity is rampant on youtube, production values and high art are another story. Not to say well produced high art isn't on youtube but I certainly wouldn't call it rampant.

    " the average quality of content of a given provenance is an additional concern. If this is too low, then even the best 10% of material furnished by some particular source is yet of little value."

    I agree. Part of the problem is a youtube video 9.9 times out of 10 is not trying to be a work of art. They are meant to entertain in a minute or two, or show a glimpse of a world or concept, or whatever. No one is trying to create the youtube equivalent of War and Peace, they are trying to entertain, info, or rant and I would say they are succeeding. There are certainly some great niche market shows on there but as far as something of great cultural importance, not that I have found. But I again relate that to the age of the medium and now add that the intent of medium is by and large not to create lasting works of art. Much in the same way television shows rarely set out to make lasting works of art that will maintain cultural significance through the ages, sometimes they do accomplish that on purpose or by chance. Youtube will be the same in that the majority of people uploading are not trying to create a masterpiece. However many young artists maybe currently laying the groundwork for their masterpiece on youtube right now.

    " I am not a fan of IP. I nonetheless am not impressed by Moody's argument here."

    I agree on both fronts. He makes some leaps that I don't think are well reasoned. But there are some statements I would agree with "what they are really expressing is their own incomprehension in the face of this new kind of art." For one, many people are ready to dismiss anything that is on the internet and/or doesn't cost money as culturally worthless.

    Now we can argue whether or not sites like http://wheresrandysavage.tumblr.com/ create art. But one can not argue that they are an important part of the culture of the young generations and will shape them more than the Mona Lisa and Andy Warhol ever will.

    Cheers to reasoned argument! Please use the "reply to this" feature at the bottom of a post to keep it threaded and make it easier for myself and other to follow along.

     

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  57.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 10th, 2012 @ 11:59am

    Re:

    Quality over quanity? I am more entertained by watching video's on YouTube than any network show. It's like winning the lottery to find some band I really enjoy. The quality of films and music produced by hollywood has fallen into the toliet. YouTube is far more important as a distribution system. Hollywood can't even figure out licensing and distribution between "region coding" yet. Is that MY problem as a consumer? NO.

     

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  58.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 10th, 2012 @ 12:03pm

    Re: Re: Oh, it all depends upon how you measure it

    "Calling the homemade crap on youtube "content" is a retarded joke."

    Calling the million dollar remake and sequal crap made by hollywood "content" is an insult to my intelligence. They assume the average viewer is 10 to 13 years old, and language (plot) is optional. YouTube beats Hollywood any day.

     

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  59.  
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    Ryan Diederich (profile), Apr 10th, 2012 @ 12:09pm

    Hang on now

    Can someone calculate "The Sky Is Rising" numbers with recent inflation values applied to the overall revenue of each industry to see if the economy has any hope or not.

     

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  60.  
    identicon
    awa, Apr 10th, 2012 @ 1:11pm

    Causation/Correlation

    I agree whole-heartedly that the exponential outpouring of creativity--of all quality levels--raises serious question about the supposed "toll of piracy." However, I'm sincerely concerned that one so predisposed could argue, using the same flowering of creative content as evidence, that the toll of escalating copyright protection is also not nearly as bad as it is feared. That is, "look, we passed all of these strict copyright laws and they don't seem to have constricted creativity very much." The most obvious response to this would be that the explosion of creativity has come about despite the escalation of laws. I'm wondering if we have anything more substantive to support this counter-response or if there are other compelling counter-responses.

     

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  61.  
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    Gwiz (profile), Apr 10th, 2012 @ 2:28pm

    Re: Re: Re: Oh, it all depends upon how you measure it

    For all of you out there basically saying all this new content sucks and isn't "art", I submit the following link as food for thought:

    http://www.cracked.com/article_18645_6-great-novels-that-were-hated-in-their-time_p2.htm l

     

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  62.  
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    Gwiz (profile), Apr 10th, 2012 @ 2:30pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Oh, it all depends upon how you measure it

    Oops. I should have linked to the first page, not the second page:

    http://www.cracked.com/article_18645_6-great-novels-that-were-hated-in-their-time.html

     

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  63.  
    identicon
    Lawrence D'Oliveiro, Apr 10th, 2012 @ 4:45pm

    Re: ď...and sucked almost as bad as disco did back them.Ē

    Itís clear you and I are from different eras.

     

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  64.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 10th, 2012 @ 8:06pm

    And how many of the creators are being compensated for their work? Don't say they get a free service. They are the service. No one goes to these sites for the service, they go for the content. Youtube, facebook, all the sites that make money off of user generated content are effectively robbing the masses. I find this more offensive than what the copyright holders are doing.

     

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  65.  
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    teka, Apr 10th, 2012 @ 9:09pm

    Re:

    it is strange that you keep doing the same thing.

    Creativity? well, I don't like any of this, so it does not count. Where is the Real creativity?


    And then someone points out what is going on, but you loop back to start.

    Creativity? well, I don't like any of this, so it does not count. Where is the Real creativity?

     

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  66.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 10th, 2012 @ 11:01pm

    "Now, a portion of that content may be copyright material -- but only some, and probably not much."

    We don't know. And as long as Youtube doesn't release stats, one should refrain from making such assumptions.

    Content ID really doesn't do much. I run a Youtube channel with slightly over 700 videos, all of it containing only infringing content. Only 2 videos have been taken down so far.

     

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  67.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 10th, 2012 @ 11:38pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Oh, it all depends upon how you measure it

    Boxes, however, they will go in.

     

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  68.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 12th, 2012 @ 1:22pm

    Piracy leads to creativity?

    "To admit that piracy isn't a problem, because it (piracy?) seems to be leading to more, not less creativity"

    Hmmm, how, pray tell, does piracy increase creativity? Would people not put videos on utube if they did not steal other peoples property?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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