FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Pirating Creativity

by TRAVIS EBY

For years now the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) has been trying its best, unsuccessfully, to enforce its “intellectual property” claims upon those who would dare share and distribute media. They are of course not the only ones trying to get IP enforced; we have seen the same trends in music and gaming. Since it has long become clear that they cannot stop the sharing of media on the internet, the MPAA is going for the gold: Get pirates when they are young. In other words, the MPAA has gone to work getting its mission inserted into the public school curriculum.
A nonprofit group called the Center for Copyright Information, supported by the MPAA and other groups, is in the early drafting phases of a school curriculum to teach children the supposed value of copyright. Of course, this whole plan is not without critics. Some argue that Hollywood studios and music labels are simply trying to promote their own biased agendas, while others say that such a curriculum would use up valuable classroom time needed to simply cover the basics.
There are two fundamental things for us to look at here, and they are both highly problematic. These are public education and intellectual property.
Public education is an environment wherein children are taught that there is such a thing as objective authority figures. This may not be overt, especially given how many well meaning and sincere public educators are out there, but the fact remains that public schools are among the first places where children start to be molded into compliant, servile people. There is not a whole lot of room for individuality, and even less room for questioning the teacher’s lesson plans. It is the perfect place to instill far-reaching values, such as statism, when children are at their most intellectually vulnerable.
Intellectual property is a ruse the political class uses to control free market — a clever tool to inhibit competition. There is no logical way to own something like an idea, and there is no logical argument against people sharing information, including media of all kinds. By enforcing claims on “intellectual property,” the political class inhibits competition, innovation and creativity.
But they would have us believe otherwise. They argue that IP protects creativity, that it protects competition, and that it protects the market. But if this is truly the case, then why would so many be fighting to undermine it? They also argue that sharing their supposed intellectual property is hurting the industry and costing people jobs. This of course flies in the face of the billions of dollars the movie industry, the music industry, and the game industry rake in every year. But they would still seek to get these regressive values into the minds of schoolchildren.
The fact of the matter is that sharing information, including media, is a massive check against the mandated market control of these big media groups. In many ways it has actually served to help them due to more people having access. It has also pushed them to innovate and make their products worth more to the general consumer. In other words, real market forces have created arguably better products. For years IP has stifled innovation, and it has been through revolutionary market forces that we have seen some exciting changes in the media industry. One such example is the Steam video game client that, while still a player in IP, has been making more and more quality games available for dirt cheap. In many cases, some will stop pirating because the games they might be interested in are available for so little money.
In short, not only is IP a regressive, anti-freedom framework, but the notion that they are so desperate that they would seek to get into the minds of children means that they are scared. Not to mention that their efforts will most likely meet with derision from the older siblings of these kids and create even more media sharing than before, thereby furthering their own demise.
Simply put: They are losing. Let’s keep it that way.
Travis Eby is a contributing author at the Center for a Stateless Society.
More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

Weekend Edition
August 26, 2016
Friday - Sunday
Louisa Willcox
The Unbearable Killing of Yellowstone’s Grizzlies: 2015 Shatters Records for Bear Deaths
Paul Buhle
In the Shadow of the CIA: Liberalism’s Big Embarrassing Moment
Rob Urie
Crisis and Opportunity
Charles Pierson
Wedding Crashers Who Kill
Richard Moser
What is the Inside/Outside Strategy?
Dirk Bezemer – Michael Hudson
Finance is Not the Economy
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Bernie’s Used Cars
Margaret Kimberley
Hillary and Colin: the War Criminal Charade
Patrick Cockburn
Turkey’s Foray into Syria: a Gamble in a Very Dangerous Game
Ishmael Reed
Birther Tries to Flim Flam Blacks  
Brian Terrell
What Makes a Hate Group?
Andrew Levine
How Donald Trump Can Still be a Hero: Force the Guardians of the Duopoly to Open Up the Debates
Howard Lisnoff
Trouble in Political Paradise
Terry Tempest Williams
Will Our National Parks Survive the Next 100 Years?
Ben Debney
The Swimsuit that Overthrew the State
Ashley Smith
Anti-imperialism and the Syrian Revolution
Andrew Stewart
Did Gore Throw the 2000 Election?
Vincent Navarro
Is the Nation State and Its Welfare State Dead? a Critique of Varoufakis
John Wight
Syria’s Kurds and the Wages of Treachery
Lawrence Davidson
The New Anti-Semitism: the Case of Joy Karega
Mateo Pimentel
The Affordable Care Act: A Litmus Test for American Capitalism?
Roger Annis
In Northern Syria, Turkey Opens New Front in its War Against the Kurds
David Swanson
ABC Shifts Blame from US Wars to Doctors Without Borders
Norman Pollack
American Exceptionalism: A Pernicious Doctrine
Ralph Nader
Readers Think, Thinkers Read
Julia Morris
The Mythologies of the Nauruan Refugee Nation
George Wuerthner
Caving to Ranchers: the Misguided Decision to Kill the Profanity Wolf Pack
Ann Garrison
Unworthy Victims: Houthis and Hutus
Julian Vigo
Britain’s Slavery Legacy
John Stanton
Brzezinski Vision for a Power Sharing World Stymied by Ignorant Americans Leaders, Citizens
Philip Doe
Colorado: 300 Days of Sunshine Annually, Yet There’s No Sunny Side of the Street
Joseph White
Homage to EP Thompson
Dan Bacher
The Big Corporate Money Behind Jerry Brown
Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
DNC Playing Dirty Tricks on WikiLeaks
Ron Jacobs
Education for Liberation
Jim Smith
Socialism Revived: In Spite of Bernie, Donald and Hillary
David Macaray
Organized Labor’s Inferiority Complex
David Cortright
Alternatives to Military Intervention in Syria
Binoy Kampmark
The Terrors of Free Speech: Australia’s Racial Discrimination Act
Cesar Chelala
Guantánamo’s Quagmire
Nyla Ali Khan
Hoping Against Hope in Kashmir
William Hughes
From Sam Spade to the Red Scare: Dashiell Hammett’s War Against Rightwing Creeps
Raouf Halaby
Dear Barack Obama, Please Keep it at 3 for 3
Charles R. Larson
Review: Paulina Chiziane’s “The First Wife: a Tale of Polygamy”
David Yearsley
The Widow Bach: Anna Magdalena Rediscovered
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail