(anti)Freedom fighter

New Yprk Times OpEd: Ten for the Next Ten (by Bono)

A decade’s worth of music file-sharing and swiping has made clear that the people it hurts are the creators — in this case, the young, fledgling songwriters who can’t live off ticket and T-shirt sales… we know from America’s noble effort to stop child pornography, not to mention China’s ignoble effort to suppress online dissent, that it’s perfectly possible to track content.

I am very sympathetic of the hardships Bono has to endure. And I am glad that he feels for the rest of his peers, especially the ones that would never be able to sign a big fat contract with Universal or Sony Music or Warner Bros. All because of those damn file sharers just would not stop sharing that music.

What is constantly not being addressed by the criticism and militant denial of changing times like the one from Bono (or Mr. Trump & friends) is what is the underlying current, why file sharing en masse is out there? And though so much has been written about it, all the reasoning falls upon deft ears.

It is a big world out there, bathing in bandwidth, spreading the news and information fast. Yet media companies (recording industry, movie industry and press) still want to rely on inefficient physical means of distribution, because this is the only thing they can somewhat reliably control. The key here is somewhat — it is totally trivial to copy even DRMed CD, relatively more difficult, yet still possible to copy a DVD, very cumbersome, yet still quite easy to scan a book or a magazine.

But the point is not that it is easy to violate media IP. The point is that such actions need not be a violation. They are unlawful only in as much as there’re artificial barriers established around these properties, not unlike the castle walls of medieval Europe.

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