john at dx.org
Fri Apr 22 22:30:57 EDT 2005
in response to the points being made below...
> Indeed linked to the question of copyright, which is *still* largely
> justified and legitimated by a claim to an 'author' who needs
> protection - when actually it is a huge faceless multinational
> It's not too hard to figure out that this country is an empire in
> decline and is run by and for the corporate/military industrial
> complex! So we are up against a lot of power fighting to survive in
> the face of collapsing paradigms all around them. They will not go
> down quietly! Resistance, lawsuits and destructive tantrums
> (like...er ....wars, for example) are to be expected from these
> dinosuars. No surprises there.
To my mind the challenge of deciding how best to promote a new IP
paradigm begs this crucial question: what happens when – sometime
relatively soon – the economic hegemony that is enabled by the existing
IP paradigm is threatened with an imminent fundamental destabilization?
Unfortunately one reasonable answer is, as Mark suggests, war. Wait -
don't scoff and delete. Think about it. I mean, if America will go to
war for oil how could it not go to war to preserve IP, which is
arguably as essential to the American economy? This in turns leads to:
war against whom? A generation of kids – American kids among others
– for whom IP equals not Intellectual Property but Inspired Play? Seems
an impossible scenario, except that Steve Kurtz's awful situation and
the many other excesses of homeland security suggest at least one way
that war could be engaged. The RIAA's campaign to bust file-sharers
combined with the American Prison Complex suggests another.
Now I'm not saying the worst is going to happen, now or in the future.
What I'm saying though, is that in the end there IS going to be a
large-scale conflict of some kind. And that's why there needs to be
thought put into designing today, strategies that will prevent what I
think of as the Copyright Wars of 2041. Or 2021. Or 2011. Because
keeping casualties to a minimum seems the most important goal.
Unless of course, you're already surrounded by casualties, unless
you're a casualty of capitalism yourself. Maybe then you don't mind a
few more. All of the world's mostly poor, mostly brown, mostly oral
people on the wrong side of the digital divide are there in part
because capitalism requires a lot of people who can be exploited. Maybe
that matters. Personally, I'm interested in building bridges between
oralists who have a long history of being colonized and economically
exploited by literate cultures, and digital activists who are trying to
fend off that literate colonial drive in the virtual sphere. In my
opinion these two groups have a tremendous amount to gain from each
other (and already share largely overlapping value systems). But I find
myself wondering, in promoting process-based economic models that
explicitly challenge literate capitalism's values (moral, economic and
legal) am I trying to start a revolution or stop one? As a
rabble-rousing freak I say hit the barricades. As a parent who's been
around, I know that real violence is real bad and I want no part of it.
Maybe living in safe and sound Canada has something to do with it too.
So I'm confused.
I see Creative Commons as functioning very much as a bridge designed to
overcome antagonisms. In other words to prevent a revolution. And this
doesn't mean it can't be radical, innovative, paradigm-changing even.
But one can ask: as more and harsher Anti-Remix Bills get drafted and
passed, as the generation of kids for whom P2P is as natural as
breathing gets more and more criminalized and victimized, as –
potentially anyway – some programmers in Addis Ababa figure out how to
start scratching the internet in a way that really shakes everything up
and the virtual realm is targeted as the next place to be liberated
from the (anti-IP) terrorists – will we (who is we here?) be better off
clinging to a few legally sanctioned rights carved from the vaults of
the WIPO tyrants or straddling an array of Apache servers launching a
DoS at their palatial Geneva HQ?
I have no goddam idea actually. But I think these are questions we're
going to have to answer all too soon. Of course, maybe there really can
be a middle ground, maybe each side will give and take and a compromise
will be reached incrementally. I'd genuinely like that. But I'm afraid
there's too much need and opportunity on one side and too much power
and greed on the other for that. It's a scary combination.
Anyway, thanks for the space...I'd certainly be interested in hearing
if anyone else harbors these same concerns or fears...
bluesology • printopolis • digitopia
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