Fred von Lohmann, senior copyright attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, has just posted a review of Adrian John's monumental, 500-page Piracy: The Intellectual Property Wars from Gutenberg to Gates
, a thoroughgoing and well-researched history that draws compelling conclusions about the need to view piracy as a business-model crisis, not a moral one. I'm about halfway through Piracy
myself, and really enjoying it:
Along the way, you'll be reminded that today's debates have historical roots in controversies over computer hacking, phone phreaking, home taping, and ultimately the 1920s patent-law rebellions against AT&T. This is history every interested copy-fighter, patent reformer, and netizen needs to know. Prof. Johns ends his book by describing the unique thing about our current historical moment: the rise of what he calls an "intellectual property defense industry":
As piracy has grown and diversified, so a counterindustry has emerged, dedicated to combating it. The coherence and scope of this industry are relatively new and remarkable. In previous centuries, particular groups or industries mounted efforts against piracy; but they did not generally regard them as fronts in one common cause. Now they do. ... So the first implication is that we need to appreciate the historical significance of this industry of antipiracy policing and apprehend its consequences, at every social level. The second implication follows from that. Measures adopted against piracy can sometimes impinge on other, equally valued, aspects of society. Indeed, it is possible that they must do so, given the nature of the task. When that happens, however, they can trigger deeply felt reactions. The result is a crisis, with the potential to create a moment of genuine transformation.
If that's right (and I think it is), then opposing the "intellectual property defense industry" is not the same thing as opposing "intellectual property." Rather, it is about insisting on values like civil liberties, privacy, and autonomy, and not allowing antipiracy enforcement to trample them.
Required Reading: Adrian Johns, Piracy: The Intellectual Property Wars from Gutenberg to Gates (review)
Piracy: The Intellectual Property Wars from Gutenberg to Gates
When Wells Fargo fired 5,300 employees for opening 2,000,000 accounts in its customers name (stealing their cash and trashing their credit scores in the process), it wanted us all to know that it had cleaned house, because this was just 5,300 people who, without any help from senior management, all happened to coincidentally engage in […]
Salesforce.com and Google are two of the technology giants who have expressed interest in a possible buyout of the struggling social media firm Twitter, according to various reports. Reuters describes today’s news leak as “the start of what is likely to be a slow-rolling auction of the high-profile but money-losing social media company.” CNBC reported […]
Robert Croucher owns Hatton & Berkeley, a firm that sent “speculative invoices” to people it accused of illegally downloading the Robert Redford movie “The Company You Keep” — letters so egregious that Lord Lucas described the company as “scammers” and the letters as “extortion,” urging Britons to “put them in the bin.”
If you own a dog, you’ve most likely heard of BarkBox – the monthly subscription box for dogs. What started as a simple idea to try out the subscription model on pet owners has since developed a cult following of dog lovers. If you haven’t given it a try yet, this one month free deal is the […]
With the iPhone headphone jack having gone by the wayside, we’re excited about the addition of the FRANKLIN Bluetooth Headphones in our store. These headphones are foldable so they’re easy to carry around, but most importantly, they pack impressive sound. Our biggest struggle with Bluetooth headphones is the worry of them dying at the worst moment. This pair lasts an impressive 8-10 […]
Evan Kimbrell, founder of the digital agency Sprintkick, recently released a series of online courses that feature some of the best advice we’ve come across. These courses are well worth your time, and will save you from making many typical mistakes down the line if you ever want to start your own business.With this Business […]