Ben Carruth’s Techdirt Profile


About Ben Carruth

Ben Carruth’s Comments comment rss

  • Dec 18th, 2011 @ 2:21pm

    Preaching to the choir

    A technology intended to rapidly distribute information in as decentralized a fashion as possible (for robustness, resilience, etc) is being used to rapidly distribute information in as decentralized a fashion as possible, and somehow, people are surprised.

    One of the aspects I find most amusing about all of this is how deeply people have internalized relatively recent (i.e. latter 20th century) concepts of intellectual property, as if they'd been there all along. The moment it was possible to print a million reasonable facsimiles of a painting, intellectual property changed. The moment a musician could be recorded (most of 20th century copyright law pertains to the distribution of sheet music), it changed again. When working as a musician required access to a multimillion dollar studio, it changed yet again...

    ... and the moment a musician could produce an album of the same quality, with similar distribution access, all by themselves without being beholden to an antiquated corporate behemoth, it changes yet again.

    "Copying" is right at the heart of the issue. The point in contention, the winch twisting the nickers of the RIAA and their ilk, is not that copying is being done, and certainly not whether or not copying negatively impacts an artist. There's a line from "cotton patch gospel" that sticks out in my mind: "There is no doubt that these so-called 'healings' are the result of an alliance with a negative supernatural force. Otherwise, why would he do it for free?".

    When Warner Music Group does it, it's production. When you do it, it's theft, according to laws written at a time when a "recording" was a physical apparatus beyond the ability of the consumer to produce. Digital transfer is, legally, stealing in an impossible way. It's akin to plagiarism via telepathically siphoning the thoughts from an authors mind before they write them down....

    ... which kinda brings us to the nub, that copyright law was, and is, primarily intended to protect creator credit and identity. The lobby push against digital distribution is as much about keeping the artists in line as it is protecting grossly inflated profit margins. If uncontrolled distribution channels are legitimized, i.e. when sharing is regarded as every bit as legit as buying a CD at Walmart, WMG and company lose their last hold over the artist.

    Yeah, think of the poor artists. Download their album and use the money you saved to buy a t-shirt at their next gig.

    heh. Sorry for the ramble ;-)