Thursday, October 29, 2009

Unpopular measures

Lord Mandelson, gggrrrr, has set out his plan to punish filesharers, the Guardian reports. I have something to say about it, as you can imagine, so I'm reproducing my comment here:

I find it quite sad that there are "creative" people who think they are doing "work" that needs paying for, rather than following a vocation. The notion that Sony and BMG are some sort of charitable foundation that helps small artists to share their vision is pretty laughable. They have turned what used to be a vibrant creative commons into a drab spectacle, whose aim is not to delight or even entertain us, but to turn our common heritage into money.

What strikes me about this particular proposal is that Labour, the party of the people, is pushing a measure that so clearly opposes our views. The people don't have a problem with filesharing: most of us do it or would do it. Very few people haven't downloaded something without paying for it, or do not have a ripped and burned CD. We are not clamouring for measures against filesharers, any more than we begged for ID cards or CCTVs. Once upon a time, Labour could claim it was willing to serve us because it would pass measures that we supported and business, sometimes, not so much. But not any more. It cannot even pretend to be for us. And if it's not for us, why should we want it?

When the likes of Mandelson ask themselves why we -- I don't mean myself, I mean the general population -- are supporting shitheads like the BNP, maybe he should note that the BNP appeal to us in terms of what we want. They are making appeal to those among us who don't like all the darkskinned people with their scary food, frightening religions, dangerous ideas. We may not like the values the BNP appeals to, but they are values held by the people, not values business would like imposed on us. We have on the whole stopped believing Labour is on our side. Who could believe that now? We didn't want their war in Iraq. We don't want their slavish worship of corporations, which we mistrust. We don't want their economic policy, which we do not feel has made us any better off. They are focused on doing what they think is good for us, not what we think is good for us.

As for this measure, well, the problem for Sony et al is that their business model was based around controlling the means of distribution of culture. We could argue about whether the commodification of culture is a good or bad thing, but the fact of it is that it was made into a commodity. However, technology has made it impossible to sustain that business model, just as technology has destroyed other business models. Because the big media companies are huge, unwieldy bureaucracies, which share with other corporations the problem that success in achieving status depends on being good at being in a corporation rather than being talented at all, they cannot adapt. You see the same problem facing other media companies, and their response is equally poor: Murdoch, facing the end of the subscription business model, wants to squeeze it and cannot see how to make money from the Net.

So this is the last gasp of that model, and the corps involved are doing what they do know how to do: use their influence with government to squeeze the last bit of juice out of it. It serves nothing but the bottom line. You can't "fix" the "problem" of filesharing. The day of controlling distribution of culture is done. You can't make money out of it any more.


Blogger Don said...

Nicely said. I hope you are right, that this is the last gasp, these are the days of the final squeeze. As technology leavens the market, the day of the pop superstar should end as well. Or diminish. People will always need their heroes and gods.

Interesting to recognize the BNP exists because it is answering to some people's needs. That's much better than trying to dismiss them out of hand. Hopefully they will end up dismissing themselves.

October 30, 2009 at 1:36 AM  
Blogger Father Luke said...

Check out this link for a glimpse into the madness:"

In a spoonful:

The guys who run The Pirate's Bay have been "ordered" not to run the sight by Sweden, even though they no longer live in Sweden, nor is the site hosted in Sweden.

Eat the rich. Fuck them all. Grow or go.

- -
Always the same,
Father Luke

October 30, 2009 at 9:07 AM  

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