from the six-strikes-aka-two-outs-or-0.3-matchbooks dept
This week, Comcast users were no doubt relieved to learn that their ISP would not terminate their accounts for racking up six strikes (read: accusations) under the new "voluntary" regime that's sweeping the nation, instead opting to block every website. To question the wisdom of six strikes is to whine about the enforcement of copyright, or so our regular critics insist... Michael Becker, however, took most insightful comment of the week with a more accurate interpretation:
This isn't enforcing copyright. This is guilt by accusation with no due process.
"Nay!" say the entertainment/ISP industry 'shippers—a breed of fandom I was not previously aware of. "Your complaints, like those of New Jersey's Carl Bermanson, only stem from disrespect for copyright, and this, its newest incarnation!" And in this it is harder to fault them, because disrespect is one of many apt terms for the common opinion around here of today's arcane, obsolete and overreaching copyright laws. Gwiz took second place on the insightful side by articulating this fact:
If it's respect for copyright that you are wanting, why aren't you advocating changes to copyright to restore the public's respect for it?
Seriously, you can only whack a dog so many times with a rolled-up newspaper before it turns and bites you. Even our four-legged friends have a basic concept of respect that far exceeds what some of the copyright maximalists around here can muster.
But the almighty copyright had a better idea: shutting down The Real Calvin & Hobbes. One really does wonder where all this disrespect for copyright is coming from! Just look at Josh in CharlotteNC showing zero respect (and winning our first editor's choice) by learning a very appropriate lesson from this pointless stifling of creativity:
So again, we have a promising artist creating new content that tried to do the "right" thing and ask for permission. What did it get him? Shut down. Silenced. Censored. By copyright.
Don't ask for permission to create art. Don't apologize for creating something new and beautiful. Just do it.
Art can be great business, and money has played a massive role in determining what art gets made at what scale at many points in history. But when you take a broad view you see that, overall, the progress of art and creativity has less to do with wealth and productivity than perhaps any other field of human endeavour. It's swayed by these powerful forces, but it doesn't rely on them for fuel. Masters of commerce and marketing can ape creativity to make a quick buck, but the real path to success that matters is sincerity. Amanda Palmer gets that, and so does our second editor's choice winner, Zac Shaw:
The feeling Palmer describes makes many in the music industry uncomfortable because it accentuates the bankrupt morality of a business model based on exploitation.
As someone who's slept on a few of the same floors she did while on tour, I can tell you there's a reason Amanda Palmer is THE modern-day hero for musicians. Social bonding has always been the purpose of music. It's always been why we play. To say music is entertainment is like saying food is deliciousness. The nourishment music gives comes from shared experience -- literally SHARING MUSIC -- and yet for the last 100 years we've minimized that decade by decade until most came to think of music as purely an entertainment product.
The purpose of music is not to make people rich. The purpose is social bonding. If you accomplish social bonding -- the purpose of music -- it's human nature to reciprocate, to acknowledge value.
This is what all the folks at Trichordist and other musicians nostalgic for pre-Napster days have sadly forgotten in their holy war to force fans to pay for access to the music they originally created hoping for wide exposure, wide social bonding. They'll hide behind "it's about the music, man" but it's not about the music for them. They're obsessed with all the money they're losing. They're looking for someone to blame -- the fan, the industry, other musicians -- but they have no one to blame but themselves. They are losing money because they no longer are making connections. They are actually being negative and trying to put people off. I know I change the channel immediately when a Cracker song comes on. Wait, I always did that.
Let's go back to Comcast now for our funniest comment of the week, courtesy of an anonymous commenter:
Comcast is upset that they lost the worst company of 2012 to EA so they're trying harder this year.
Much like these comments, that's a highly competitive category. But perhaps not as competitive as Dumbest Thing Said By A Lawmaker, which doesn't even have rankings anymore, just a really long list of unsorted winners to which we can add this doozie from Georgia's Earnest Smith: "No one has a right to make fun of anyone. It's not a First Amendment right." Smith was upset about the scurrilous Photoshopping of his head onto a porn star's body, and an anonymous commenter took second place by wondering if Smith was the only one upset by this:
To be fair, I'm sure porn stars don't like their faces covered up by a Congressman's face either.
Luckily, yet another anonymous commenter was there to win first editor's choice by suggesting a swifter route to justice:
Or, instead of passing that law he can photoshop the person who made the image, to make them look like they're in jail.
Good idea. Of course, what I'm sure Smith really wants is a way to reach into the past and prevent the photo from ever having existed. Incidentally, either such a method has already been invented, or the six strikes program that kicked off this post is at best unnecessary and at worst counterproductive when it comes to the supposed goal of the industry: increasing sales. After all, sales were up before the system came into effect, and not because of anti-piracy measures. One final anonymous commenter takes our last editor's choice for illuminating that first possibility:
Wow! 6 strikes works fast! Also retroactively, apparently.
Presumably, having perfected this temporal technique, the industry now plans to shift time back to 1992 and freeze it there. See you at the record store!