From: Flick Harrison (email suppressed)
Date: Fri Oct 15 2010 - 11:25:01 PDT
Defending or attacking Piracy on principle is like declaring a war on terror. You can't declare war on a tactic, since lots of people use the tactic for various reasons.
The Pirate Bay has very murky motives and end goals, perhaps a giant URL (Ubiquitous first, Revenue Later) scheme that draws the anarcho-libertarians together as a viral force against competitors, or as an emerging market-crop that can be harvested later.
Lots of Swedish and other research being done to analyze and predict the vectors of this.
What are the Ubuweb creators gaining (materially or otherwise) by their running of this website? Are they sharing it with the artists? If it's just about exposure, then they probably are.
(I should point out that I have a piece, voluntarily submitted, on Ubuweb, a file I coded and approved)
In the context we're discussing, though, we really have to consider the possibility that the argument in favour of pirating independent artists' works, while meant in all honesty as a support of independent culture, sounds a little like a rapist's defense.
"We think your body of work is really sexy. You put it on public display and therefore it's ours now, to do with as we wish. It's for your own good."
Now I can hear the shrieks of outrage at my unreconstructed pre-Oleanna politics but that convergence of arguments keeps coming into my head in this debate.
After all, the pirates in this case are justifying an action that first and foremost benefits themselves as researchers and audiences.
But to argue the opposite for a moment, sampling / found footage / remixing work is a very different sort of beast from a simple stealing / re-distribution of whole works - it acknowledges the original authorship and contributes something new. Perhaps Ubuweb is a big sampling machine, and maybe that makes it okay. But a sample, in my opinion, is a segment of a work, or an altered work, not just a varying-quality attempt at wholesale, uninflected reproduction.
-- * WHERE'S MY ARTICLE, WORLD? http://wikipedia.org/wiki/Flick_Harrison * FLICK's WEBSITE & BLOG: http://www.flickharrison.com
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