“I don’t even know why I would want to be on a label in a few years, because I don’t think it’s going to work by labels and by distribution systems in the same way. The absolute transformation of everything that we ever thought about music will take place within 10 years, and nothing is going to be able to stop it. I see absolutely no point in pretending that it’s not going to happen. I’m fully confident that copyright, for instance, will no longer exist in 10 years, and authorship and intellectual property is in for such a bashing.”
2002 ~ David Bowie
For years around the world, especially in western nations, copyright watchdogs for the content and entertainment industry have predictably pushed and pushed to gain more rights and reduce peoples privacy and disown us of our active cultural environment. In the Netherlands we have BREIN as a shill for the industry and they have again increased their target spectrum, now by having gained the right to use intrusive, possibly fishing software, to find and match uploads.
At this time of writing BREIN claims only to go after “BIG” uploads, whatever the metric for that would be, but it is barely a slippery slope argument if one predicts that this will lead to “smaller” uploaders or even .torrent file downloads in the future. These thugs have been pushing the acceptable boundaries for years now and I do not see them having any reason to stop here.
In forums all around the internet the same discussion on these subject always seem to fold out. There is a discussion on how to avoid being “caught” and a discussion on how privacy is being hollowed out by these lobby parties and industry shills. Although these are 2 separate discussions, it seems that they have the same opponent who often uses the same arguments against both and even though the arguments that are in favor of privacy and anonymity do not always use the most valid reasons to support their position, it is miles ahead of their opponents.
I’d like to leave the privacy and anonymity debate for what it is at this time and focus on a set of arguments that supporters of BREIN often use and make an argument why they are not valid.
Against both topics some people tend to say something like this :
“Well, downloading/uploading is illegal, so just don’t do it. That way you won’t have to worry about your privacy or you don’t need anonymity”
“If you don’t like the law, go and protest, don’t break the law”
While these arguments are in itself dubious for various reasons (if you got nothing to hide, you don’t have to worry, for example), it is especially wrong regarding the case of copyright and the entertainment industry. I will argue that civil disobedience against copyright enforcing shills and various draconian copyright laws are our duty. We must fight the Mickey Mouse monster wherever we can. The notion that this is an issue that can simply be protested with signs and shouting choirs seems almost a fallacy in itself, for it does not address or understand the problem that needs to be fought.
Cultural expression through, music, books, film and other media permeate our society in ever greater quantities through modern media. These expressions, as we know, do not live in a vacuum but are build on cultural expressions that went before. Culture influences society which in its turn build upon these notions, making the ownership question a very strange one. But Mickey Mouse would disagree. Or rather Disney who could be seen as the grand mogul of copyright extenuation and enforcement. There is this joke about copyright, It’s called the “Mickey Mouse” rule. It says that if you want to know how long a piece of material will remain copyrighted, you only have to find out how long mickey mouse has been around. This is because the Disney company has time and again successfully lobbied in the USA for extensions to copyright law.
Just let that sink in. Regardless of the technological giants shoulders Disney stood on enabling him to do animation and regardless of the lack of originality of the Disney portfolio itself, being a mere rehash of older material that often fell in the PUBLIC DOMAIN, for shame! Because of s silly drawing of a mouse, more and more cultural inspiration resources are being clamped down by companies who have absolutely no right to interfere with the natural progression of cultural expression. By extension , BREIN is a willing accomplice in this racket that is actively hijacking parts of our contemporary and historical identity and they are willing to use disproportional bullying tactics to keep you from reclaiming what is yours by right.
The idea that such a lobby industry could simply be protested against within the cage that they have constructed around us is at best naive. The only way to put these corporate culture thief’s back in their place is to actively go against them. Civil disobedience is the proper way to act against such a cultural threat. Yes, in most cases civil disobedience does go against the word of the law, but so did the publishing of Pamphlets by Rosa Luxemburg or just about any resistance paper in any conflict area in the world. When Ghandi went on his salt march, the goal was to take back what was taken from the people by breaking the law. The entertainment cooperations view culture as a resource that has to be mined, processed and sold and this simply has to stop. It is our right and even duty to ridicule and break these obnoxious culturally catastrophic laws and practices before we get to the stage where not only the expression of culture is decided for us, but also our reaction which would result in our society being intellectually comatose.
To clarify, do I mean ALL cultural expressions on any media? Yes I do! Be it Catcher in the rye or the latest star wars movie, access should be the same and as open as possible for all. This means that you must have access based on what you are willing to spend, even if that’s zero monetary units. The reason why this must be true for all media is simply because we can’t let the industry decide which expressions are under embargo and which are not. The industry would like to have everything locked down, but this seems impossible to enforced due to cost, thereby showing their true nature and lack of interest in true culture.
The idea that we could retreat into the public domain, ignoring the industries influence on culture also will not work. By default entertainment would then, even more as it does now, try to re-badge and resell those cultural expressions, creating the same problem all over again. No, if the entertainment industry wants to help itself to the body of work that is our culture, then it should subject to the nature of culture and respect it’s sovereignty.
That is why you must actively break the law and re-commandeer your heritage.
A lot of concepts that touch on the industry usurping culture at large are also found in the excelent documentary “the corporation”, which you can see in it’s entirety here.
You that context, you can think of the earths resources, the water and air as an analogue for our cultural ecosphere.
* Tim Kuik ~ Thief. This is not meant figuratively. Kuik as a strong arm guy for the cooperations that disown the public of their cultural heritage is knowingly and willingly adding theft and therefor is a thief.