Digital Copyrights and Copywrongs

The following is an excerpt from an online discussion at The court decided in the copyright holders favour against the pirate bay.

#113. dio666

The court that made the ruling doesn’t understand what a torrent is and file sharing is not a crime. And let me make a point about file sharing in general here…
If you make good software, if you make good movies or music you will never starve, you will never go wanting so long as you ask for money when providing your product. At some point the arts became industries, like everything else on earth the noblest aspirations have been turned into commodities and the result is shit. I am all for the best artists making money, I am also for the widest possible distribution of any material which benefits the state and character of human civilization irrespective of profit or potential cost. What we must achieve (and this has been the daunting sword of Damocles hanging over our heads since the inception of digitization) is a system whereby artists will not starve and the largest number of people can have the most open and ready access to all media.
This is not a debate – you cannot quantify the value of music or software (though this has never stopped anyone from trying) and you cannot socially accept allowing brilliant producers to starve. But let me make one thing perfectly clear a true artist needs only two things, their bread and their art. As a software engineer myself I find the greed which pervades the industry abhorrent, we have made of an industry which can potentially liberate the inherent potential of the human species an extension of the unfair inequalities which pervade the rest of society. I for one am content to lead a meagre existence if it means that the largest number of people can derive enlightenment or enjoyment from my work. I do not wish to starve but I also do not wish to live in luxury while others live in poverty.
This is a historic moment in my mind. I look to a future when a Digital Library of Alexandria is a reality, where the window for outright commercial exploitation of intellectual property is limited to a handful of years while sharing and also Contributing is encouraged by industry and by the culture itself. One day we shall produce a civilization where people are wise enough to understand that our inability to quantify the value of “intellectual property” demands of us that such property must be freely accessible to all and that as a result we all must care for our artists and engineers as if they were members of our own family or our very selves for in a very real way we must eventually come to the realization that we share the same fate as these men. We are all going to have to live in the world of inequality this unnecessary regulation of information necessitates, we are all cogs in the system of power privatized knowledge creates, we are all in this together – We are all The Pirate Bay.

I followed the discussion until the invocation of Godwin’s Law, then bowed out. Dio666’s (Ronnie James?) comments, struck me with a clarity I have aspired to since.


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