misssylviadrake (misssylviadrake) wrote,

On yesterday's blackout

Dear friends,

This is in response to my good friend John Ryland. Enough people are fooled by the argument that copyright is essential for most artists to make their living. A tiny tiny number of people making a living through copyright; the people who make money are the institutions and corporations who manipulate it.  Most artists if they are lucky get a fee for their work; they live by day jobs.

I wish I had time to review the years of the Renaissance and early 18th century leading up to the first effective copyright laws: until then the controllers were the people who controlled gov'ts, again large institutions. In the 19th century famously a few novelists made a lot of money through Mudie's which itself made the use of copyright by its control of the market and distribution. That broke down in the 1890s. Copyright at the same time skewed ideas of originality so that only those who wrote down a story first were seen as creative; it created a fetish which (like tenure, which is basically a closed union shop) people then used to their advantage and hinder scholarship and many many other artistic activities (turning translation into a travesty, making films misunderstood but the movies again have plenty of money to overcome this). 

Wikipediea has declared yesterday's blackout a success. But I want to reply here on this attempt to close down the Internet by various powerful groups: we should probably remember if we are successful this time, these people are not going to give up. They are going to come back continually with more lawyers and more clever arguments, ceaselessly at their dirty work of trying to control public media so as to suit their interests and make as much money as they can as their guiding principle.


Tags: capitalism, cyberspace, life-writing (mine), listserv life, social life

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