Wednesday 7 November 2007

The idea of Art in our times is changing radically. All of the desperate defining and containing that is much mocked in this blog is the vain effort to medicate the metaphysical nausea we experience upon finding ourselves on a shifting funhouse floor. This brilliant interview with Cory Doctorow by Joel Turnipseed pins down a few of the facts we need to accept: (read the whole thing, but by its nature I shouldn't feel guilty about stealing a large chunk)

We live in a century in which copying is only going to get easier. It's the 21st century, there's not going to be a year in which it's harder to copy than this year; there's not going to be a day in which it's harder to copy than this day; from now on. Right? If copying gets harder, it's because of a nuclear holocaust. There's nothing else that's going to make copying harder from now on. And so, if your business model and your aesthetic effect in your literature and your work is intended not to be copied, you're fundamentally not making art for the 21st century. It might be quaint, it might be interesting, but it's not particularly contemporary to produce art that demands these constraints from a bygone era. You might as well be writing 15-hour Ring Cycle knock-offs and hoping that they'll be performed at the local opera. I mean, yes, there's a tiny market for that, but it's hardly what you'd call contemporary art.

So that's the artistic reason. Finally, there's the ethical reason. And the ethical reason is that the alternative is that we chide, criminalize, sue, damn our readers for doing what readers have always done, which is sharing books they love—only now they're doing it electronically. You know, there's no solution that arises from telling people to stop using computers in the way that computers were intended to be used. They're copying machines. So telling the audience for art, telling 70 million American file-sharers that they're all crooks, and none of them have the right to due process, none of them have the right to privacy, we need to wire-tap all of them, we need to shut down their network connections without notice in order to preserve the anti-copying business model: that's a deeply unethical position. It puts us in a world in which we are criminalizing average people for participating in their culture.
(Link via Journalista)



Anonymous Anonymous said...

And in other news, Prince is busy trying to clamp down on his fan sites. Maybe he can stay at home in future and play in front of the mirror.

I keep finding the same copy of my Call of Cthulhu adaptation on torrent sites, something I regard as a free ad for my work and the books that contain it. It's poorly scanned and taken from a version that was later reworked slightly so anyone who grabs it has an incentive to buy a copy of the book if they really like it.

8 November 2007 at 07:43:00 GMT-5  
Blogger Damien said...

Remarkably off-topic, but I thought you'd enjoy this.

8 November 2007 at 17:31:00 GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've heard this one...before...and i always said; one tend to copy, anyone else's work...because, either one, is not capable of originality, or just plain lazy, lazy, lazy!

9 November 2007 at 07:18:00 GMT-5  

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