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Eggnog, Assange and Anonymous

Detail: Boucher, Toilet of Venus

I’m currently mulling intellectual property law, the importance of copyright, and Anonymous, all whom I respect.

Prosecuting a granny for downloading songs: You’re doing it wrong. One Huge Industry Giant wrote:

Headlines about a grandmother being fined hundreds of thousands of dollars did not properly present the big picture, and they were terrible PR for the industry.

He’s right.  (America and businesses based here being huge bullies over Wikileaks is another post for another time).

Some Anonymous are getting very DdoSy via Operation Payback which to me seems a bit misplaced and possibly short-sighted. And there is no way Assange is gonna distract from OpPayback, so give up that concept! There are reasons copyrights exist, these reasons are tl/dr, but copying without permission or pay is an uneven social exchange:

I’ll give you my Space Food Stick if I can crib off your math test

is making a deal; lifting off someone’s page without permission (or attribution, or a processed food snack) is cheating. Residuals and royalties from legal sales and downloads create income streams which allow for a vital economy through employment, purchases, use of services and other businesses, trickle down. As the writers’ strikes proved in Los Angeles, when creative income stops, the economy suffers. Badly.

The studios, at least in Bollywood who admits to it, hired their own private DDoS service, which went and boasted on their gig, hoisting themselves on their own petard, only to fall like a T. rex toe-walking Chihuahua. The RIAA, BPI, MPAA and US Copyright Office have all been recent targets. OMG, WTF!? Somebody crashed the Copyright Office.

First off:  Media interpretation of “Anonymous” needs to be flexible; heck Anonymous is flexible, fluid. Anyone can be “anonymous” online in certain areas of the web, when writing old fashioned letters, or checking on Prince Albert in a can. Princess Di made anonymous calls to a lover. Imagine if she’d been able to organize HRHOPA* on 4Chan…

There may be some Venn diagram spillover of unnamed Anon sets opposed to breast censorship in Australia and sets who think cULtz R cR33PY but never leave the house; sets who raid Second Life; and sets who show up IRL EGF (oh hai!). They may not all interact on 4Chan, either; it’s not like that is the only sandbox. (Trying to shut down IRCs was pretty bush league.)

Sonny Bono is an interesting case. While a Congressperson, he extended creative copyright, benefitting him as a songwriter and his heirs–and members of his faith/a huge corporation by maintaining certain Top Skeret texts as copyrighted. Then he hit a  tree while skiing which was really freaky. I am wondering if it is ethical for a Congressperson to bring forth a bill that directly benefits said C’member. I wonder if Congress is allowed to set forth a law, or the IRS to proffer a deal, which benefits a specific religion over all others.

(Granted, with pressure from congressmembers with ears to the bar and restaurant industry, the Sonny Bono bill was amended to include the Fairness in Music Licensing Act, which exempted smaller establishments from needing a public performance license to play music).

I have a solution to this whole copyright Bobby i$$ue:

Make the telecom companies pay for carrying the transmissions, not unlike radio stations.

According to U2’s manager, Paul McGuinness who I quote above and below, that isn’t an option, despite free content being

part of the commercial agenda of powerful technology and telecoms industries. Look at the figures as free music helped drive an explosion of broadband revenues in the past decade. Revenues from the “internet access” (fixed line and mobile) business quadrupled from 2004 to 2009 to $226bn. Passing them on the way down, music industry revenues fell in the same time period from $25bn to $16bn. Free content has helped fuel the vast profits of the technology and telecoms industries.

Tax the means of delivery!  Like taxing the ships that carry tea, rather than tea.

Oh noes, but if the telecoms don’t liek the tax, then what? They are the t00bs, both of them. Recent activity–against Wikileaks and by security teams (click the lings, plox)– has proven that the clouds aren’t safe either, so dream on over that model.

And while we are on the subject of copyright, for it was copyright what brought forth the Freeweb Cruise, could DMCA be cited on Wikileaks? But do we as taxpayers technically hold part of that copyright? I wonder if the American govt could collect a royalty from the telecoms for each download, link, etc to Wikileaks and share the revenue with the embattled free speech fighters… ??? Profit!

Also I see a whole micro-industry springing up around searching the cables for keywords, dates, concepts.

Will keyword search for giftcards

Full disclosure: I could never figure out how to use Napster, Kazaa, or Pirate Bay and sorta thought they were scary and germy, and like, hard to figure out. I have no clue how to use a torrent, but someone gave me some music once from one of those keychain beer opener things that plugs into the side of the computer. I style several EFG masks and have seen some amazing U2 shows over the years, some for free. I also wrote an essay once about U2 and Negativland; later I got paid for its use, which was kind cool.  And I am prolly gonna annoy a bunch of people with this essay, but really if you can’t speak your mind, what is the point of existing? We are communicating creatures, it is our nature.

*Her Royal Highness’ Own Personal Army

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Lisa Derrick

Lisa Derrick

Los Angeles native, attended UC Berkeley and Loyola Marymount University before punk rock and logophilia overtook her life. Worked as nightclub columnist, pop culture journalist and was a Hollywood housewife before writing for and editing Sacred History Magazine. Then she discovered the thrill of politics. She also appears frequently on the Dave Fanning Show, one of Ireland's most popular radio broadcasts.