This new book titled Free Ride by Robert Levine a former features editor for Wired looks to be a must read for content creators. The book is currently available in the UK and goes on sale in the US onOctober 25th. Copyhype has a review of the book (here). What’s interesting and completely obvious once you start thinking about it, is this narrative about copyright being broken:
A conventional narrative has emerged of the media and creative industries’ response to the internet and digital technology. Beginning around the mid-1990s, this story has been one of old against new: stodgy, corporate executives holding on to the past versus hip digital natives embracing the future. These technologies have rendered copyright law broken according to this story; existing media industries have failed to take advantage of these innovations, relying instead on using the law to prop up their dying business models. They have failed to adapt and sued those who have.
is nothing more than “a fight between the people who make money under the old system and the people who might make money in the new system.” Simple, right. As much as technology pioneers want us to believe that information wants to be free and that free is the “The Future of a Radical Price” the bottom line here is someone wants to make a buck that someone else is currently making.
The ideology of copyright critics masks nothing more than a simple economic struggle between existing content producers and emerging content distributors. As Levine points out in an interview at last June’s World Copyright Summit, despite all the high-minded academic arguments of the copyleft, no one has so far acted contrary to their economic self-interest.
I like this quote from Jaron Lanier (You Are Not a Gadget) on the Amazon site:
“This book thoroughly documents a wide-spread outbreak of cyber amnesia. Despite libertarian delusions, industries often get Free Rides, especially in their early days, but they eventually give back. Taxpayers build roads, then get hired to build cars. The Internet gives back a lot in exchange for its Free Ride, but one thing it defiantly isn’t giving back is a way for enough people to make a living. No matter how amusing or addictive the Internet becomes, its foundation will crumble unless it starts returning the favors it was given and still depends on.”
Will the internet ever give back? I think so. I’ve experienced it in my own tiny ecosystem.