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April 22, 2010
The Urge To Share
Boingboing pointed to this video called "When Copyright Goes Bad", a 14-minute discussion of what's gone wrong in the copyright wars at this point. Fred Von Lohmann features heavily, as do a few other Copyfight heros like Michael Geist, who points out that probably the entirety of remix culture is based on a natural human tendency to want to share. If you assume that people are, on average, good and generous then it should not be surprising that they want to share what they have, that they want to show off what they've made, and to mix it up with their friends.
Special speaking point props to Hank Shocklee, listed as one of the "founders" of Public Enemy but also well known as a hip-hop producer in his own right as part of the Bomb Squad. Shocklee hammers on the point that I wish more people would engage with - the evolution of a workable copyright system will be impossible without the informed engagement of the consumer. The Cartel's model is so wrong because it treats the consumer so badly - as a criminal, as someone to be scared into obedience, as a spigot from which every possible penny must be wrung regardless of how bad an experience comes from the interaction.
This is an example of what I meant when I said I disagreed with Cory on whether or not a negotiated peace is possible with the Cartel. The radical difference in views on how people ought to be treated makes it impossible, in my view, to find negotiable ground. (In Cory's defense I should say that he has extensive experience negotiating with publishers for things like the rights to make available DRM-free electronic versions of his books and I do grant that the Cartel are not wholly monolithic.)
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