Using Technology to Deepen Democracy, Using Democracy to Ensure Technology Benefits Us All

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Copyfighters Support Professional Writers Against Predatory Media Conglomerates

Write the Studios!

A student asked me today if my commitment to a2k/p2p politics diminishes my support for the WGA strike. Until he asked the question, it never occurred to me that there might be a tension between these commitments.

Here's my thinking for now. I can imagine p2p practices making profitable professional writing a thing of the past one day, or at any rate a much rarer thing than it is today. I can also imagine this development contributing to a flowering of free collaborative creativity, intimations of which we already see online all around us. (I also advocate a universal non-means-tested Basic Income Guarantee to subsidize free content provision and p2p participation -- a proposal I call "Pay to Peer," but that's another story.) Be that as it may, today six media conglomerates (General Electric/NBC, Disney, Time Warner, Viacom, CBS, and News Corp/Fox) are screwing the writers who create the content from which these media giants make their profits.

From the Perspective of These Conglomerates:

Unacceptable Piracy = Downloading content for free online.

Acceptable Promotion = Downloading content online that contains advertising (but from which its writers still get nothing).

Even the Cute Kitties and Puppies of YouTube Understand the Principle Involved:


Nato Welch said...

I picked up on this tension immediately.

But if the opposition is to the way the copy rights themselves are misused, then we need only to keep our eyes on those groups that actually hold them.

Hint: they aren't the striking writers. They can't even work without giving up their copyrights - and that practice isn't even up for negotiation by way of the strike itself.

Dale Carrico said...