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.

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  1. The quote from Jaron Lanier is particularly salient — especially this sentence:

    “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.”

    The ‘new’ online/internet economy has made it virtually impossible, it seems, for enough people to make a living — doing just about anything (not just photography).

    I’m glad to know you’ve experienced something different in your own tiny ecosystem, Rob, and no doubt there are plenty of other ‘positive’ examples like yours… But on a much larger scale, I’m afraid I’m not so optimistic.

  2. Maybe how this is working in your ecosystem is a good blog post for us. And to go with it, how it can work for photographers and other creatives?

    True creatives will continue to create even if they can’t make a living doing so. But the quality and quantity of content will suffer. If I can no longer make a living as a professional photographer I will have a lot less time to devote to my passion after eight hours of greeting you at Walmart. Even so I will not give away my creativity so that someone else can profit from it.

  3. This is really interesting. I have a blog with my husband who is a professional photographer and we are always SHOCKED to see how many people take our original content and use it for free. We work really hard on our content and it makes me crazy to see sites that generate advertising dollars use it for free. I have a background in art direction and design, and we use no photography for free! We all know better. I think the blogging industry will have a big wake up call (aka lawsuits) in the next few years.

    • Hello Susan,

      Yes! Lawyers are good, but even better is the TECHNOLOGY.

      We have been told (& sold) by all the well-funded technology/law czars and their well-funded fanboy/fanmba hipster bloggers that DRM is not only evil, but IMPOSSIBLE.

      But yet, all the digital content in their bank accounts are safe and secure. All the proprietary algorithms on their hard drives are safe and secure.

      These technologies, reserved for the elite, could easily be shared, but then the business models of profiting off the works of artists an creators–both past and present–to the tune of trillions of dollars would no longer work. And so the MBAs fund the lawyer/blogger/hipsters to blog, “lzoozzl DRM sux yas lzozozl must get rid of DRMs evil impossble sux all locks can be broken useless lzozolzoz stop being greedy selfish you lockers and work 4 free and give away your content/blood sweat/tears to us zlozlzlz and we will tell everyone what a cool hipster sipster u r zlozlzlz ad we will ink not only 2 ur blog but 2 ur twitter lzozlzlz and tumblr now let us tumbl your photos and u will be rich like us 1 day lzozozz.”

  4. Interesting headline versus the content. Isn’t this really about copyright versus technology or visa versa. I don’t think technology will kill the creativity/culture industry, there is too much history to the contrary. This is not just a simple issue because numerous facets to consider. The bigger part of the picture is the battle is over $$ and who is going to get the lions share of it. Your Post on Parry being sued is an example of the current battle. I will be looking for the release of the book.

  5. Well, over the past couple decades artists and creators have raged against digital rights management (DRM) and property rights, so now these entities are virtually non-existent, especially for the indie artist/photographer, who is only too happy to make the bankers/owners of the centrally-controlled social networks/search engines billionaires, many times over. :)

    If you really want to see just how free information wants to be, roll up to one of their office buildings and start snapping pictures to put on their social network. Walk around their campus with a video camera, explaining to the elite security guards how “information wants to be free.”

  6. The strongest trees grow the slowest.

  7. It was struck me as odd how many musicians, photographers, and filmmakers detested their own natural property rights, only to turn around and adulate and celebrate the property rights of those who made all their money off the musicians, photographers, and filmmakers, leaving them broke.

    ‘Tis something profound about human nature here. Hipsters would rather be “hipsters” than earn their rightful living, and thus the Silicon Valley MBAs market hipsterism as that philosophy which gives up all of one’s property freely to multi-billionaires.

  8. Why, for instance, are not artists, photographers, and creators afforded an encrypted social network with DRM, where folks have to pay for access? Why, instead, are we given social networks who can sell all our private information to multi-billion-dollar corporations, and who can use our content freely to build their brand?

    Instead of publishing platforms which afford marketplaces wherein creators can sell their work via DRM-protected channels, all we have are DMCA business models, where billionaires leverage the loopholes in the DMCA, building vast brands about the creators’ content–the creator who never gets paid.

    This is largely because the vast majority of creators would rather be seen as “hipsters” in their skinny jeans, than man up and stand for true art and enterprise. I won’t name names here, but the billionaire companies regularly pay off the most vocal hipsters to rage against property rights and artist’s natural rights, and the proper hipsters all dutifully follow the lead.

    So then it’s funny to hear hipsters going, “wahhhahaa I can’t get paid, wahahaha I’m not getting credit for my work, waahhaha other people are ignoring my copyright wahahahaa.”

    Well, it’s because y’all raged against DRM–digital rights management.

    And the funny thing about this is that the internet is perfectly secure. For instance, the billionaires in Silicon Valley can all access their bank accounts online, but you can’t access their bank accounts. And then they tell you that information just “Wants to be free,” so fork over all your content. And the hilarious thing is that you guys actually created your content via blood, sweat, and tears, where the 1s and 0s in their bank account adding up to billions was created form thin air and wired there, so they could fund hipster lawyers to rage against property rights at lavish conferences. :)

    And they won. And you lost. Because they told you it was “cool.” lzolzlz

    • The photogs/musicians that are in line with what you write about, and even more basic…just getting paid are outnumbered by the sheeple following the dangling carrot of dreams of success with no clue about sustainability. You’re a Boglehead trying to get thru to a group of people (not all-but most) with about as long of range vision as a dope fiend. I’ve found better luck banging my head against the wall. :) When they finally have spent enough years grinding to realize their ROI was fruitless, maybe then they’ll wake up. Probably just in time that their skinny jeans aren’t working for them anymore.

  9. Yes, and the funny thing is, that so many people at all the Newspapers which are going under also spent a lot of time raging against property rights and rights for artists and authors. As they watched their business models burn, they happily poured gasoline on it, kneeling before the CEOs of the cloud, who threw them a couple peanuts and bought them a couple drinks at Silicon Valley conferences.

    Even Steven Jobs, once he cornered the content of all four major music labels, got rid of DRM, as the more music people who downloaded for free, the more/bigger ipods he could sell.

    Given a choice between simple DRM and giving away one’s life and works, the hipsters rushed in droves to give away their life and works as well as the life and works of all creators, as they received a few dollars and pats on the back from the MBAs, who hired elite marketers/hipsters to brand the pliable editors/artists/creators as cool hipsters. A couple of them received professorships, funded by bailout dollars and debt for their loyal crusade against property rights and artist’s rights.

    And even now, as they no longer fit in their skinny jeans, they yet pull them on and preen at conferences on how they liberated information.

    • Dr.
      The reap what they sow?
      The business model fits in perfectly with the homogenous packaging.
      The desire for quality is sliming down. Look at what’s being pumped by the mainstream media. No difference between the photographer/musician business model and the the overall Plutocratic world we now live in. It’s every man for himself. The photography industry has been the most blatant showcase for this for YEARS. This is a group that hasn’t had an increase in day/space rates for decades let alone fight for DRM? Don’t you know that by them working for free they’re lucky enough to be in print? To work with such an amazing publication that will lead to an abundant career? Sure you’ll always have the superstars but nowhere near the number of people funneling into the industry. (and lets not forget many with 6 figure loan debt that private institutions are thrilled to educate).

      • Yes!

        Here is the student-loan-debt MAXIM:

        “The greater the debt acquired by the student, the less likely they are to speak out against the system that places them in massive debt while trampling on their property rights.”

        Hipsters parade on through the hipster colleges and clubs, singing, “Student debt rox! Property rights suck! lozzl I upload allmy content and shar eit freely as I go into debt and far away MBAs become bilionaires! lzozozozl” The hipsters hope that they might be heard by the MBA masters who invite them to speak at Silicon Valley conferences, and get a couple dollars for helping sell 1) massive student debt and 2) the destruction of property rights to their peers.

        Someday, they too will run a favorite Silicon Valley blog calling MAkr Twain Nutty, deconstructing the classical property rights that come to us from Homer and Moses on down, going “lzozozz MArk Twain was NUTTY! lzozozo Homer sux lzozozl infomration jus wanna be free lzozzzlzoz larry lessig rox more dan da greedy beatles and AC/DC”

        • FLMAO!! (!) that extra exclamation point lost (a la Old Navy)
          since I went to Art School.

          • as long as a hipster can get a couple pairs of skinny jeans and a couple vintage t-shirts with seventies shows icons printed in a faded/pre-washed manner, they care not how much they are put in debt nor how much their property rights are eroded, as they dutifully upload every last smidgen of content and information to facebook and tumblr, blogging “2day i downloaded da hipstomatic iphone app lzozoz it rox and i luv my massive student debt and complete lack of property rights,” and when a Silicon Valley MBA reads the hipster blog, they invite them to come lecture at SXSW on how to create and share content, where they stand before a room of indie-artists all wearing the same skinny jeans, brands of t-shirts, and uploading all their creations to all the same sites as indie artists, all harboring the exact same hipster opinions that DRM is dead, as a hipster’s first and foremost loyalty is always, always, always not to ideals and natural rights, but to the corporation. This conformity is branded as “thinking differently,” and all those who question it, like Mark Twain, are labeled NUTTY , as the hipsters go LZOZOZOZOZL omg lzozozozozo what a looozer taling about DRM lzozlzlzozolzlzozo,” hoping that a massive corporation will throw a couple debt-based fiat dollarz their way zlzozlzzl.

            • Very appropriate clothing reference/visual given the APE post from this week regarding the model release/Photographer lawsuit…pics on t-shirts. I wonder if any hipsters were wearing these tees? Wouldn’t that be ironic. Would never happen if he owned his images.

              • social media should be renamed “socialist media.”

                the true #1 rule of social media is that one grows rich to the degree that they keep their work and ideas *off* of social media.

                what percentage of steve jobs ideas/innovations/work are posted/shared on tumblr/facebook?

                what percentage of mark zuckerberg’s ideas/innovations/work are posted/shared on tumblr/facebook?

                what percentage of the most famous photographer’s ideas/innovations/work are posted/shared on tumblr/facebook?

                facebook & apple own patents galore. but patents and property rights are for billionaire-owned corporations alone, as only corporations have property rights, while individuals, artists, creators, and photographers do not, must not, and will not, as their content and information “yearns to be free.” lzozlzozo

                • A funny thing is that I bet that not one single photographer–not one–will speak up for DRM.

                  Because far more important than natural rights, earning honest money, and a livelihood, are serving billionaires, making distant non-creators rich, and appearing “cool” to all the web 2.0 hipstomatic bloggers.

                  • You can bet your PHD on that as this dynamic has been going on for a LONG LONG time before the likes of DRM and Steve, Mark etc… were in the picture.
                    Same saga different vehicle.

  10. A funny thing about Levine’s interview at the copyright summit linked to above, is that he says copyright isn’t a moral issue.

    lol! I guarantee, that if ran around the campus of one of the Silicon valley DMCA-loophole-built startups, photographing their buildings–just the outsides–it would become a moral issue. If you copied the look of their homepage or trademark, it would become a moral issue, with Harvard-trained lawyers espousing the virtues of morality and moral behavior.

    But when it comes to individual rights and the artist and creators’ copyright, it is no longer a moral issue. For only corporations and governments have moral rights, whereas individuals do not, and thus only corporations have property rights.

    This is a bit different from what Mark Twain stipulated before the 1906 congress, but what did Twain know?

    Here today’s well-funded pro-corporate-rightist hipsters call Mark Twain “nutty:”

    Here’s what Twain said:

    “I am aware that copyright must have a limit, because that is required by the Constitution of the United States, which sets aside the earlier Constitution, which we call the decalogue. The decalogue says you shall not take away from any man his profit. I don’t like to be obliged to use the harsh term. What the decalogue really says is, “Thou shalt not steal,” but I am trying to use more polite language.
    They always talk handsomely about the literature of the land… And in the midst of their enthusiasm they turn around and do what they can to discourage it. – Mark Twain, Speech in Congress, 1906

    It are these classical sentiments that the fanboy hipsters call “NUTTY,” as the cloud’s billionaire MBAs lavish them with praise and toss a couple peanuts their way, branding them as cool hipsters.

    • I believe you’re an Ivy League Grad? Most institutions that churn out image makers teach 1 maybe 2 history courses? I assure you they don’t involve copyright law. Small business isn’t even taught. Great links. Thank you for sharing.
      As for filming around these Institutions…reminds me of the M. Moore scene from “Capitalism Now” – AIG/NYSE Brinks Truck asking for our money back.
      I think you’ve got a great idea there if it doesn’t of course infringe on Moore’s Copyright. ;)

      • “Information/content wants to be free,” preaches the hipster MBA/Lawyer in their vintage T and skinny jeans, “Which is why we are charging you hundreds of thousands of dollars for your gutted degree while placing you in massive debt and never creating any content ourselves, but only profiting off of yours zlzozlzlozllzl.”

        • It’s not the money…it’s the money.

  11. lzozlzl yes what i learned about property rights, the great books, and classics came not from my ivy-league education, but inspite of it. :)

    here is how a modern lecture must go, as the professor ascends the podium in their skinny jeans and vintage t-shirt with teenage models sold by major corporations who don’t always get modeling releases as lzozlzlzo dat stuffs is so silly propertyrights copyrights zlozzloz stupid stuffss eveyroen kwnows u just upolcoad everything to tumblr anaywyaszz lozlzozlz:

    “hello i am your professor lzozozlzl and today i will teach you the rule of thirds lzozzo the rule of thirds is a good and great rule, unlike the rule of law and the rulle of copyrights and the rule of natural rights lzozlzozl which are silly and stupid rulez lzozozoo. DRM is bad and impossible na d evil and when u graduate with massive debt lzozzozl you will be forced to work menial jobs to pay it off while you upload your prorhrotgrpahs for free to wevb 2.0 comaines tomake billionaires multi-billionaires and if you do this good and diloeiegntly and call MArk Twain NUTTY someday you might be like me up here wearing skinny jeans and vintage t-shirts with teenage models who don;t sign relase fomrs sold myby major corproations, andthen shall u get your fair shar eof the massive student debt pyramid scehemes lzozlz drm is bad rmemeber for teh exam drm is impossible and make sure that when you give all your photos away for tfree to sislicon valleey billionaires that you always wlays wlays observe the rule of thirds and ifinsih them with a hipsstsomatic sensisbility. lzozlzlo . test on tuesdaya alzozlz.”

    • The motto in the world of Photography for Social Media/Web Content will be – “You’re lucky to work for free”

  12. “All your content are belong to us lzozlzozol.” –Web 2.0 MBA/Lawyer

    • This hurricane gives me time to study for the GMAT. I’m going to the other side ;)

  13. If you want to see how much a community of professional photographers has been trained to scorn, detest, dismiss, and scoff at DRM and property rights, check out this thread:

    Note how the fanboyisms and nitpicking take over, and the quest for property rights and natural rights is quickly squelched, in accordance with how the MBAs/professors were paid by the billionaire owners of he cloud to train the populace to do. It’s enough to make one go zlozzoozozoozozo.

  14. Somebody, who wishes to remain anonymous, just sent me this:

    I didn’t want to post this publicly, but….

    IF you go back to when computers and the internet were just being set-up at the same time jpg format was being coded. Code format to prevent downloading of jpg images was possible. (1981-86) ARPANET and CSNET were guided by a bunch of scientist not interested in protection of I.P. At some point, a Scientist, a known socialist and very controversial, got involved. I just can’t remember his name.

    (ARPNET/CSNET full access was limited to gov’t access companies, primarily DOD Contractors as BETA testers). The government’s beef with the code was that individuals could exchange information secretly and was seen as a security pitfall. IMO, that didn’t hold water. We were on the internet at that time, the same time companies realized the corporate espionage it was opening up and CSNET basically shut down because we (DOD Contractors) would not use it for confidentiality reasons.

    Later, and IMO, after reading the papers of the beginning of the net/Internet Protocal and it’s use as seen by “the code guys” and partly due to the University of Utah Graphics Department’s input, it was an intentional move to thwart copyright and basically, force I.P. for “public use” so that anyone would and could make “cool graphics”. At that time, Copyright was never taught or mentioned in Collegiate Graphics Education, and I doubt is is today.

    Can it be fixed…? I honestly don’t know! I don’t think so without changing the format of digital images. Anyway, there’s a “hands on, behind the scenes” brief on the history.

    • Very interesting.

      • For a textbook example of photographers raging against DRM and their very own natural rights, please see this thread:

        People, people–not all of you, but yes, most of you–when you can’t get paid as you once did, when you see your work being used without credit, nor compensation, nor permission, feel free to point a finger, but just be sure that you are looking into a mirror when doing it.

      • If the format ever changes I’d like an extension that reads

        • lol! “”People, the bigger point here is that photographers should be afforded their natural rights to protect and profit from their creations, utilizing the DRM that could be easily implemented, ***if so many photographers had not been taught/trained to oppose it*** by the multi-billionaire masters of the cloud who want to use and profit off all your content, created via blood, sweat, and tears, for free.” –

  15. This is simply awesome:

    Photographers are raging against DRM and their very own property rights, regurgitating the Multi-Billionaire Cloud Master MBA talking points lol:

    “Sad Penguin Photography wrote:
    I think everyone is missing a very important point.

    DRM doesn’t work. It has never worked. It hasn’t worked for music, movies, software, or any other digital property. and it will never work for photos either.

    The failure of DRM is that it only takes one person to break. Once that happens, the content will be freely available to anyone that wants it. The only thing DRM does, is annoy legitimate consumers who can’t figure out why their ebook won’t play on their iphone, or why their DVR can’t record the new movie release from their on demand system, or why they can’t get their music off of their iTunes account and on to their new, non apple, mp3 player.

    Do you think pirates have to deal with any of this? No, because they got their content without the DRM that some company spent all that money developing and some other company bought and slapped on their content.

    What is really happening is content creators are making their goods less valuable to paying customers and wasting money on newer and newer systems that are never going to curb piracy.

    The idea is that you should stop trying to beat pirates, it can’t be done, and instead, spend you time and energy figuring out how to leverage your digital (infinite once they are created) resources, and use them to leverage scarce goods.”

    I respond to this (in vain I know):
    “Sooooo, basically Netflix should just get rid of all DRM and Hollywood studios should give away all their $150-million budget films freely, because, after all, information just wants to be free and DRM does not–I repeat, DOES NOT work. ”

    The hilarious thing is that this is no PIRATE coming out against DRM. No–it is a working, professional photographer coming out against it.

    Is it no wonder that artists/creators are getting poorer and poorer, losing their livliehoods, jobs, profits, and homes, while a handful of billionaires who never create content are multiplying their billions off the backs of the ocmmon creator/artist, and funding fanboy/hipster professors/bloggers to teach the world that DRM, natural rights, and property rights are evil and impossible for people, but are only for corporations and billionaires?

    lol :)

    • Folks–if you wonder why the photography profession is withering and why it is harder and harder to make ends meet, just listen to how photographers talk and what they say, “What is really happening (with DRM) is content creators are making their goods less valuable to paying customers and wasting money on newer and newer systems that are never going to curb piracy.”

      There you have it folks. If ever you wish to protect and profit off of that which you created by blood, sweat, and tears, you will only be making your “goods less valuable to paying customers and wasting money on newer and newer systems that are never going to curb piracy.”

      The solution? Make it MORE valuable by giving it away for free!!! Upload it everywhere all the time, and when every last photographer is uploading everything everywhere all the time for free, tumbling it on out towards eternity, then shall the value of your work increase!! Only problem is, the Silicon Valley billionaires will pocket all the value, while you gets nothings zlozlzozozozozozoz.

      But hey–you’ll be a hip hipster photographer, working menial jobs to pay off your college debts and giving your content away for free to increase its value! I promise! The master MBAs have already come up with your branding campaign and you will the the hippest hipstomatic hip hipsters in the skinniest skinny jeans ever! lzozlzozozzo

  16. here’s another professional photographer dutifully preaching against DRM–“Photographs on the web, however, are designed to be seen!”–they shout from the rooftops–information wants to be freeeeeee! weeeeeee!!! They write here:

    “Kevin Connery: It’s almost trivial to permit files to be encoded so only those with the proper passcodes can access them. Many different encoded/encrypted image formats already exist. Very few of them have gained much acceptance, much less popularity.

    Photographs on the web, however, are designed to be seen. The (few) people who only transfer private images have many approaches available to them; the (many) people who want to go to a site and see what it looks like–including the photos on the page–are less likely to want to spend extra money and/or spend extra time configuring their system for something that doesn’t benefit them except on sites which lock images.

    (In other words, your solution imposes the burden on the people who want it least.)”


    • After seeing these professional photographers raging against DRM and thus content marketplaces, Levin may wish to retitle his book: “Free Ride – How Culture Creators Are Killing The Culture Business.” lzozlz

      • People-this thread gets awesomer and awesomer:

        And it is highly valuable and pertinent here, because these people aren’t downloaders nor pirates, they are PROFESSIONAL PHOTOGRAPHERS. They are CONTENT CREATORS. And they religiously rage against DRM: “Sad Penguin Photography : The other problem with your position is that Hollywood and Netflix do not make money because they have DRM. They make it in spite of their DRM. Every movie is available for free the day it is released on dvd. Some, well before that. DRM is not doing anything. It is certainly not making people money.

        I very clearly stated that since DRM does nothing to prevent piracy (this fact is not in dispute), and only succeeds at aggravating legitimate consumers, content creators should not be wasting their time and money on it. They are in fact, making the products they sell, less valuable to paying consumers, while pirates get anything they want without the headaches.

        Why would you want to implement a system that does nothing to stop piracy and instead, costs you time and money and oh yeah, aggravates the people that want to give you their money? ”

        They are arguing that if HOLLYWOOD & NETFLIX got rid of ALL DRM, they would do better, just like the music industry, I guess.

        Again people, why is anyone surprised that the content creation businesses are dying?

        If anything, we should be surprised they are doing as well as they are!

        P.S. Don’t you love it how they write, ” DRM does nothing to prevent piracy (this fact is not in dispute).” LOL! How the billionaire masters of the cloud have won!

  17. OMG people.

    This is AMAZING.


    Why is anyone even asking anymore why the content-creation industries are dying?

    Listen to the snark here–this is what happens when you try to discuss with professional content creators how they might better protect and profit from their content:

    “lose the rhetoric and content-empty phrases please?
    if you have a point to make and/or a side to take you do it no justice. Levine has been on and on and on about his pet peeves on the internet for decades. This is nothing new. ”

    LZOZLL! They just dismissed DRM and Levine as “pet peeves, rhetoric, and content-empty phrases.”

    People–professional photographers–start loading all your content onto Web 2.0 right here and now, because with all this rage against property rights and DRM from fellow photographers, Web 4.0, where you can protect and profit from your content, ain’t gonna ever happen.

    You are now, and forever, working for the billionaire aggregators who never create content. LOL! I mean listen to this logic! ” mandatory DRM in open channels is essentially impossible. The netflix example is perfect. It only works for Netflix users. I’m not a netflix user so it doesnt work for me. ”

    “Nyah nyah nyah I’m not a netflix user so it doesnt work for me Nyah nyah nyah, and thus DRM is impossible”


    Martin Bielecki: “Publishers DON’T want to create a parallel network to control, they want to use the one that already exists but they are confounded by the reality that they can’t change it into something they can control. They want to be here because it is THE SPACE. the only one. The cat’s out of the bag now, there can be only one internet no matter how many ghettos we try to create within it. It’s just too trivial to bridge information electronically. The future doesn’t hold multiple parallel networks so much as one ubiquitous network.”

    You heard it here first folks, the cat is out of the bag, and anyone who tries to create a DRM social media site will be living in a “ghetto.” “The future doesn’t hold multiple parallel networks so much as one ubiquitous network,” as unlike every aspect in life, there is to be no competition.

    Problem solved, fellow content creators–you heard it from teh content creators themselves. So stop your bitchin’, whinin’, and complaining about no longer getting paid for your photography, and get busy uploading, sharing, tagging, and tumbling all your work, as the billionaire’s billions must multiply!

    Competition is a sin. –John D. Rockefeller


  19. LOL! PEOPLE!


    I just saw a glimmer of hope, which warmed my heart–perhaps one, single, kindred soul/pro photographer who shared my belief that photographers should be able to protect and profit from their content! Their words inspired me, all the way up to, their very …. last… statement. lzozllzlz

    BeautybyGod writes, “you guys make some great points.

    it was a sad day for many of us when the DMCA law was passed. you know it was passed by a bunch of idiots who didn’t really have a clue about what the internet was like. some people told legislators that they should not include those who facilitate theft accountable because it would limit the internet… and they bought it.

    i disagree strongly, though, that image/content theft can’t be limited or stopped. as was pointed out, the way the law is too much leniency is given to hosting and sharing sites. sites like limewire, aimster, and were shut down. of course it would take the cooperation of many countries. countries like the netherlands are profiting on a large scale by not doing much of anything about copyright infringements.

    so now you have huge sites like tumblr profiting from using our images. for many of these sites, their business model doesn’t work without allowing rampant theft. the same goes for ebay. the laws have put the burden on the copyright holder to find violations and work to get the stuff taken down. so the owners become millionaires at our expense.

    if tumblr was letting people post songs on there, they’d be in a heap of trouble. but we photographers are treated like second class citizens.

    as was stated, drm isn’t the answer.”

    there you have it folks. DRM isn’t the answer? What is? NOTHING!!

    Now get back to uploading all your content to tumblr/social media for free!! It isn’t easy being a billionaire, and Uncle Aggregator needs YOU!

  20. alright people!

    i’m off to go surfing in this socal heat!!

    to sum up today’s lesson, “photography is a dying industry because photographers have been trained to detest and rage against DRM and property rights.” lol! and guess what! The photographers are WINNING in destroying their own and your livelihood while enriching the multi-BILLIONAIRE owners of the CLOUD! lzozlz


  21. the photographer wakes up

    opens their college loan bills–lotsa debt–thank god they have a a couple day jobs.

    then they read and make a list of ten dozen sites to upload their content to for free, as their professor taught them that if they upload and share enough content for free, someday they will become a professor too, wearing skinny jeans and vintage t-shirts with faded 70s icons on them.

    they received an A in their intellectual property law class, where they wrote a paper citing eric schmidt and famous blogger/hipsters in silicon valley–the paper was titled, “how giving it all away for free increases revenue and how piracy pays the creator.”

    after spending a couple hours uploading all their content to the sites owned and operated by multi-billionaires, they then head off to work their day job as a barista at starbucks. they smile to themselves as they think how lucky they are to make just enough to afford the high-speed cable which allows them to upload more content to more sites for free than most people, putting them on the fast-track to social-media success.

    on the way home they pause to take some landscape pictures, but they pretty much missed the sunset. they feel bad about this–the billionaire owners of the cloud do not like it when people miss sunsets, as it lessens the number of sunsets that are uploaded.

    when they get home they dutifully build their network on facebook, create some content for wordpress, re-tweet some tweets to augment the value of twitter, and upload a few more photos to various sites owned by distant multi-billionaires. “how lucky i am,” the photographer thinks to themselves, “to have global recognition,” as somebody clicked a “like” button on one of their photos while they were working at starbucks.

    how great, noble, and magnificent it is to be liked. thank god for the masters of the cloud who have afforded us with this hithertoo unknown opportunity–to be liked.

  22. Thanks for a smart post about my book. If anyone is interested, I blog about these issues at . Those of you who blog yourselves, contact me there and I will try to get you advance copies of the book.

  23. the professor wakes up

    today she will be keynoting the intellectual property summit hosted by a major social network. intellectual property law is broken as it cannot keep up with the technology.

    the panelists will all conclude the following

    1. drm is bad
    2. drm is evil
    3. drm is broken
    4. drm cannot work
    5. drm breaks computers
    6. property rights are bad
    7. property rights are evil
    8. property rights break property
    9. artists prosper when they give it all away for free
    10. piracy helped the music industry and newspapers, but because they tried to break their content with drm, their business declined

  24. here is how dialogue goes with contemporary artists, creators, and photographers who all received A’s in their IP classes, as they were programmed by leftist hedge funds and the silicon valley elite to not only persecute, censor, ban, and protest those talking about property rights and natural rights, but to give up their own rights, while celebrating the silicon-valley multi-billionaire priests’ rights to profit form their very own content which they upload dutifully and freely.

    photographer: dat sux i can’t make a living
    dr. e: that would be cool if we had a social network with drm
    photographer: zozozol drm is broken. drm sucks. drm is evil. property is bad. property rights are evil. drm breaks computers and content

    photographer2: dat sux i can’t make a living
    dr. e: that would be cool if we had a social network with drm
    photographer2: zozozol drm is broken. drm sucks. drm is evil. property is bad. property rights are evil. u r a lozer fascsits lzozoozz loozer

    photographer3: dat sux i can’t make a living
    dr. e: that would be cool if we had a social network with drm
    photographer3: zozozol drm is broken. drm sucks. drm is evil. property is bad. property rights are evil. artists make better livings by giving it all away for free. piracy increase revenue flow to content creators. intellectual property law stifles innovation and enterprise and breaks the creator’s bank account.

    photographer4: dat sux i can’t make a living
    dr. e: that would be cool if we had a social network with drm
    photographer4: zozozol drm is broken u loozer lzozozl. drm makes ocntent less valuable lzozozo. drm can alwys be broken. drm punished the honest, just like locks on doors punish honest people as sometimes they ar elocked out of their own homes and cars you loozer lzozozlzl drm sucks. drm is evil. property is bad. property rights are evil. artists make better livings by giving it all away for free. piracy increase revenue flow to content creators. intellectual property law stifles innovation and enterprise and breaks the creator’s bank account.

  25. Expert Hedge-Fund Funded Lawyer: Property rights are not a moral issue, but a legal issue, and as there is no such thing as Natural Law, might makes right. Ergo, it is not only your right, but your duty to upload all you content freely, and it is our right, via the power of billions of fiat dollarz, to profit from your content and work.

  26. The Prominent Intellectual Property Lawyer takes the Podium and Preaches on How He Gave His Book Away for Free as a Download.

    The Audience Fawns and Gasps, as Their Lord Levitates.

    He Receives Millions from Inflated Tuitions/Unprecedented Student Debt, and Millions More from Giant Search Engines/Hedge Funds, as He Holds His Book High Above The Crowd–A Book Which Would Have GBrought In a Couple Grand Via Royalties, And He Says, “Look! Behold All That I Have Given You Freely! Now Go Home, and Upload All Your Content Freely! Do As I, And Give It Freely to the Commons!”

    The Crowd Tweets pictures of The Book, Mashing it at Mashable, as the Messiah Ascends into the Cloud, Where the Lords of the Cloud Protect Every Penny and Profit From the Abolition of Rights For Artists.

  27. there’s always that success story about
    the photographer
    who uploaded a billion photos
    to social media
    and now profit
    from the photography book
    they sell
    which allowed them
    to quit
    their third job.

    they get their own panel at sxsw and a mention in wired

  28. Whomever “Dr. Elliot McGucken” really is you should know that comments are to comment, not to write an article of your own. Saying the same shyt over and over again is not the way to help the situation.

    The reason so many creative people get ripped-off is because so few ever fight back. Whether it is the cost of a long drawn out legal process, the expense of a challenge, or the implied threat of being shut-out of future projects, many creative people avoid the legal process. This is something, more than technology changes, that I think has changed the issue.

    I get some great investment advice from Credit Suisse. They see intellectual property (not strictly patents and brands, but also assets) as a great engine for economic growth. If you think technology is an issue now, wait until more people in emerging markets jump into the internet age. Obviously the global legal system will not be of help here, nor do I think some form of DRM will help matters. I think the real answer lies with the insurance industry, and I would pay for such protection.

    • Yes.

      Again, folks, we see that DRM is NOT the answer, but “the real answer lies with the insurance industry, and I would pay for such protection.”

      Yes–soon we will insure all our photos with State Farm against piracy and downloading, and the photography profession will be revived.

      Case closed, problem solved.

      Rock on!

    • Can you expand briefly on what form of insurance? Thnx.

      • Hi Sarah. The idea is that as images become more global, and there are few laws that are workable across borders, then insurance could be a way to mitigate losses. The idea is that the insurance companies would likely go after the offenders, though they would need to decide whether the economics warrant such efforts.

        So the coverage for creatives would be against outright appropriation (theft?) causing loss of revenue, or dilution of brand value. While it may be tough to create a structure that works, I would rather go through a claims process than through the legal system, especially if it involved the need to go through the court system in another country. Much like any insurance system, the volume paying in would be much greater than the payout, so there could be a revenue stream for insurance companies.

        Obviously a whole ton of details to work out in this. Consider the theft or vandalism of someone’s car. There are a few details in such an event, then later some compensation. The other tough part in this is creating value models for compensation; obviously some images will be worth more than others. Far too many details for me to type out in a few sentences.

        • yes–once we can all get allstate or geico insurance for our photos, they won’t show up on dmca-hipster sites like tumblr:


          THE BEST reponses in the thread are: “i would be honored if hipsters found my images worth reblogging.”

          Another response, “It’s a non-commercial site. No one is profiting from your work. They are blogging your images, to demonstrate that they appreciate your work and want others to see it…”

          LOL! A non-commercial site which raised $30 million !!! LOL!

          You gotta love how the hedge fund and VCs have trained the masses/fanboys.

          it’s enough to make me go lzozozllzzlzlzlz

          • Again people–these are not VCs nor elite lawyers nor pirates espousing these opinions.

            These are working, professional photographers and content creators!

            LOL! As I said in one of my first posts and repeated throughout.

            The content-creation industries are dying not because the technology companies, but because of the content creators who have been conditioned to worship hipsters in skinny jeans and vintage t-shirts with 70s icons. :)

            LOL! lzozol

          • You’re not very bright for a PhD. All you have done is spout off about the problem, while offering no workable solutions. You have been a waste of bandwidth.

            The insurance industry is allowed an exemption from anti-trust. If you think the insurance industry would not go after abusers, or pressure hosting companies, then you are delusional. They definitely have the fire-power and attorneys to go after people; far better resources than all creative professionals.

            The way to entice insurance companies into the intellectual property industry is to show them that they could generate revenues and profits. Again, much like when cars are stolen the police generally do nothing besides writing a report, and cars are rarely ever recovered, but the insurance industry provides some compensation for the loss to the auto owner. A similar model could be made to work for intellectual property.

            • lol!

              yes state farm and geico will generate vast and huge profits by going after hipsters tumbling photos.

              problem solved everyone! forget DRM or altering the DMCA! there will be no need for content marketplaces as soon as State Farm sends you a check each time a hipster tumbles your photo. :)

              actually here’s a better solution:

              The novel social network described herein allows content creators, as well content aggregators and network builders, to profit in novel manners. A method and system allows users, who create content archives and marketplaces in which individuals and content in the database are connected by mutually defined relationships determined by the content creators/owners, uploaders, aggregators, and/or viewers of said content, to better profit from the networks they build. Higher-quality archives and marketplaces result. A tiered commission system, proportional to the degrees of separation in the network, provides a revenue share for creators and viewers who participate in and create content and/or marketplaces. Information inherent within the nodes is mined so as to afford a tiered revenue-sharing system. An improved method of content distribution empowering creators of content and participants is disclosed herein, along with a superior social network.


              • Hawking your own shyt to photographers. That’s low. Du bist Schnecke Scheiße.

                I have no interest in Google, nor any other single company, getting a tiered pay wall for what is legally my content. Google will never take on any content system without them profiting, much like they tried with book publishing. Laws should not support monopolistic endeavors. Besides, the model you suggest in your (dubious) patent is hardly any different than what Corbis, Getty Images, et al have already created in the stock photography world. Your suggestion is a mere derivative of existing stock photography models.

                • yes, you are absolutely right.

                  Corbis, Getty Images, et al have already created in the stock photography world (which my patent app has nothing to do with), and solved all the problems.

                  This is why the photography industry and stock photography business just keeps getting better and better!

                  Again people–this is why there is no hope for content creators, as this is how property rights are approached–“it’s already been done/it can’t be done/getty already did it/drm breaks computers.”

                  lol! :)

                  • You are full of yourself and your reading comprehension sucks. On top of that you know nothing about the photography industry. You are a leech and a parasite.

                    Your “patent” is daft. It is barely any different than stock photography, which is already an industry segment in trouble. To even suggest your “patent” as workable is delusional. Get over yourself.

                    • This is why the internet is a great place for new ideas and innovation :)

                      The wisdom of crowds is shining through here.

                      Note the profound depth of discussion here and the focus on ideas and concepts as opposed to namecalling, ad hominem attacks, petty insults, and other fanboyisms. :)

                    • wow, that’s a long page with some serious flame-warring. hope they all have the insurance u r selling! lzozlozl dude–wikipedia is another awesome anti-intellectual realm for anonymous flame-warring fanboyz, putting other professionals– writers/editors/ intellectuals/encyclopedias–out of work, as anonymous fanboyz arrive at truth by calling one-another crackpots from their single mom’s basements. awesomeness.

                      read what the erudite jaron lanier has to say about wikipedia/web 2.0:


                      “uestion: You argue the web isn’t living up to its initial promise. How has the internet transformed our lives for the worse?

                      Jaron Lanier: The problem is not inherent in the Internet or the Web. Deterioration only began around the turn of the century with the rise of so-called “Web 2.0” designs. These designs valued the information content of the web over individuals. It became fashionable to aggregate the expressions of people into dehumanized data. There are so many things wrong with this that it takes a whole book to summarize them. Here’s just one problem: It screws the middle class. Only the aggregator (like Google, for instance) gets rich, while the actual producers of content get poor. This is why newspapers are dying. It might sound like it is only a problem for creative people, like musicians or writers, but eventually it will be a problem for everyone. When robots can repair roads someday, will people have jobs programming those robots, or will the human programmers be so aggregated that they essentially work for free, like today’s recording musicians? Web 2.0 is a formula to kill the middle class and undo centuries of social progress.

                      Question: You say that we’ve devalued intellectual achievement. How?

                      Jaron Lanier: On one level, the Internet has become anti-intellectual because Web 2.0 collectivism has killed the individual voice. It is increasingly disheartening to write about any topic in depth these days, because people will only read what the first link from a search engine directs them to, and that will typically be the collective expression of the Wikipedia. Or, if the issue is contentious, people will congregate into partisan online bubbles in which their views are reinforced. I don’t think a collective voice can be effective for many topics, such as history–and neither can a partisan mob. Collectives have a power to distort history in a way that damages minority viewpoints and calcifies the art of interpretation. Only the quirkiness of considered individual expression can cut through the nonsense of mob–and that is the reason intellectual activity is important.

                      On another level, when someone does try to be expressive in a collective, Web 2.0 context, she must prioritize standing out from the crowd. To do anything else is to be invisible. Therefore, people become artificially caustic, flattering, or otherwise manipulative.

                      Web 2.0 adherents might respond to these objections by claiming that I have confused individual expression with intellectual achievement. This is where we find our greatest point of disagreement. I am amazed by the power of the collective to enthrall people to the point of blindness. Collectivists adore a computer operating system called LINUX, for instance, but it is really only one example of a descendant of a 1970s technology called UNIX. If it weren’t produced by a collective, there would be nothing remarkable about it at all.

                      Meanwhile, the truly remarkable designs that couldn’t have existed 30 years ago, like the iPhone, all come out of “closed” shops where individuals create something and polish it before it is released to the public. Collectivists confuse ideology with achievement.

                      Question: Why has the idea that “the content wants to be free” (and the unrelenting embrace of the concept) been such a setback? What dangers do you see this leading to?

                      Jaron Lanier: The original turn of phrase was “Information wants to be free.” And the problem with that is that it anthropomorphizes information. Information doesn’t deserve to be free. It is an abstract tool; a useful fantasy, a nothing. It is nonexistent until and unless a person experiences it in a useful way. What we have done in the last decade is give information more rights than are given to people. If you express yourself on the internet, what you say will be copied, mashed up, anonymized, analyzed, and turned into bricks in someone else’s fortress to support an advertising scheme. However, the information, the abstraction, that represents you is protected within that fortress and is absolutely sacrosanct, the new holy of holies. You never see it and are not allowed to touch it. This is exactly the wrong set of values.

                      The idea that information is alive in its own right is a metaphysical claim made by people who hope to become immortal by being uploaded into a computer someday. It is part of what should be understood as a new religion. That might sound like an extreme claim, but go visit any computer science lab and you’ll find books about “the Singularity,” which is the supposed future event when the blessed uploading is to take place. A weird cult in the world of technology has done damage to culture at large.”

                    • all in all, Gordon Moat provides a living example of what happens when anyone suggests DRM for photographers and content creators.

                      the issues are quickly tossed aside, and replaced with flamewarring, ad hominem attacks, snark, and a plethora of the other standard fanboyisms.

                      folks–if you ever wish to understand why photography and content creation are dying professions, look no further than the gordom moats who have been trained 2 8 by the hedge fund bilionaires. i would not be surprised to see gordon moat speaking at TED next year, on how drm and property rights are bad and evil, and how they “break the internet.”

                    • one thing that the internet detests is originality and creativity.

                      an unprecedented aspect of the internet is that *everyone* now has a voice in forums. and the purpose of forums? to further truth and beauty? hell no–the purpose of forums is to maximize other people’s content that can be monetized by the forum owners. and so the mob rule rules via mob rule. any original ideas are labeled “spam,” although the whole purpose of the forum is to spam the search engines with content so that the search engines can spam the forums with ads. on the internet, everything is mashable and hackable, EXCEPT FOR THE ADS, which are owned by the billionaire hedge funds. ADs are another reason the hedge funds do *not* want DRM, as DRM would allow a creator of content to sell their content directly to a consumer, which is why we never saw ads on CD covers or book covers, as the money was made by the artist/author selling their book/content to the consumer. With DRM facilitating transactions directly between creators and consumers, no longer can the hedge-fund corporations aggregate the content, mash the content, copy the content, archive the content, and index the content on their privately owned servers which are all protected by tight security and DRM. And so it is that DRM must be outlawed, for DRM (and property rights and natural rights) diminishes the value of the content to the massive corporations and billionaire hedge fund aggregators/mashers.

  29. the fanboy blogger

    logs into his wordpress blog which is linked to
    which tweets his thoughts and ideas to
    which are well liked with buttons and plussed with buttons and approved
    by the hedge fund managers and legal scholars
    who follow his blog
    and fund it

    he recently gave his book away

    and yet he notes that people still buy it

    case closed

    information wants to be free
    photography wants to be free as photography is information

    somebody suggest drm is good

    the fanboy fires up his blog
    the anonymous hedge fund owners all comment anonymously
    the well-funded legal scholars chime in

    they destroy the pro-drm indie artist and cite radiohead who
    give their albums away for free
    made their career and name in an era
    where a major label signed and developed them
    but that doesn’t matter
    because property rights are sooooo 1997

    and the fanboy blogger is invited to speak at TED
    and with his google adsense check
    for blogging about how blogging makes money for pro bloggers
    like himself
    he buys
    a new pair
    of skinny jeans
    for TED where

    the title of his talk will be

    “Photography Just Wants to Be Free, But Greedy Photographers Won’t Share It With Social Media Share Buttons.”

  30. from an early age
    fanboyz are trained
    to worship
    massive corporations.

    who gave them

    grand theft auto and illegal downloading and napster lzozlzozozzo

    so they love love corporations

    and they log in every day to forums and blogs

    to oppose all innovation
    which does not come from massive corporations

    to oppose all property rights
    which do not belong to massive corporations

    to oppose all natural rights
    which do not belong to massive corporations

    as they understand that
    corporations maketh
    and corporations
    taketh away

    who are we to question the lords of the cloud?

    and the fanboyz loyally


    any innovator, inventor, or artist

    who tries to circumvent the overlording hedge fund masters of the cloud going zlozozlz yes massah zlozozzl yes yas infromation wants to be fre yah yahah software patents cuck, except for facebook’s and google’s software patents which are patented with good intnentions of doing no evil lzozozlo and being social

    • why leave 1 comment when 50 will do.

  31. :) hope i didn’t cause too big an inconvenience. :)

    i just think these are huge issues which get extremely short-thrift.

    keep up the great work & epic blog & thanks for your time invested in keeping the internet cool.

  32. SMH! @ elliot mc gucken. You need your own blog. I don’t know where you get that energy to crank out so many stories.

    • Here I am on a panel with the US Register of Copyrights: Panel Discussion at the UNC-Chapel Hill School of Law: The Law School panel is chaired by Laura Gasaway of UNC Law with John Whealan Deputy General Counsel for Intellectual Property Law & Solicitor USPTO, Marybeth Peters U.S. Register of Copyrights, Arti Rai Duke Law School, and Dr. Elliot McGucken at UNC-CH.

      Also, I worked for the Center of the Pulbic Domain who funded Larry Lessig’s Creative Commons:

      The artist as a young hacker
      The News and Observer- July 2, 2003

      Elliot McGucken … is just back from an open-source software conference — the conference on Open Source Content Management, or OSCOM — at Harvard. While there, McGucken, 33, and his colleague Blake Waters discussed Authena, an open-source program for artists, musicians, photographers and authors. Authena allows creative types to sell their work online while controlling their rights to the material. Connect’s Christina Dyrness caught up with McGucken — who also started the Web site, which is devoted to classic books — on the Chapel Hill campus and tried to get him to talk about Authena, which is a project sponsored by the Durham-based Center for the Public Domain. Q.Let’s start at the beginning. What is Authena?

      A.It’s about the application of open-source to the arts. And it also kind of ties into the rise of the artist hacker. Because when you look at the Linux operating system, it’s all created by hackers.

      Q.How are you defining hackers in this sense?

      A.It’s a benevolent hacker. Someone who’s just having fun programming. Not somebody who is breaking into government systems. I think that’s the original definition. But, basically, it has kind of progressed beyond people who just code [the programming languages] C and C++ to kind of easier languages such as PHP — that’s pre-hypertext processing; it’s a common Web programming language. And built on that is what you call LAMP applications, and that stands for Linux, Apache [an open-source Web server], MySQL [an open-source database] and PHP. And the LAMP applications, most of them are for managing content.

      Q.Like content on a Web site?

      A.Exactly. You have your PostNuke [open-source software with applications for managing Web sites], which includes galleries for instance. And message boards, discussion forums, you can put in a calendar, classifieds, you can stream media off of it. So then where Authena comes in is taking that and marrying a little bit of digital rights management to it. And then also integrating osCommerce , which is an e-commerce application, to the gallery. And all of a sudden, you have something you can upload your pictures to, define rights and sell them.

      Q.How is this different than what else is out there in terms of digital rights management? Controlling rights to online content is a hot topic right now.

  33. Stop spamming this thread annoying person who can’t type proper English.

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