Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Farhad Manjoo as unrepentant but less frequent Bittorrenter

Here. What I found particularly notable (other than his admission that he just downloaded the latest True Blood) was his emphasis on convenience--at least if you've got the money (a big if), the question is simply whether it's easier to download an unauthorized copy or download/stream an authorized one. He increasingly turns to authorized copies because "piracy is work."

I'm interested in this conception of work--it is work to make remixes and other transformative uses, but I generally think of that as a positive, both in terms of the legal argument (the fact that people put in lots of effort to make their noncommercial fanworks is evidence that doing so serves an important, First Amendment-favored communicative purpose) and a cultural one (creative work is good for you and for your community). Creativity is work too, and sometimes not that fun when you're staring at a half-finished story, but it seems to have intrinsic value where not all work does.


Molly said...

I think that's a consumption vs. creation difference, though. I don't want my consumption to be any trickier than it needs to be--and we've all seen how making it very easy to extract money from people works (iTunes, Amazon's and other outlets' ebook sales). I happily buy digital music where eight or ten years ago I was pirating it, because I wasn't pirating to save money; I was pirating because there weren't venues for legal sales, and I wanted the digital files with no hard copy to throw out.

Whereas setting out to a creative endeavor is an entirely different headspace, and one in which I'm sure he (as a writer, after all) wouldn't prefer a no-work version. I mean, a no-work version of creating is--what, full-on plagiarism? Not quite the same as the piracy/legitimate-source divide, I think.

Rebecca Tushnet said...

I think that's fair--though Lawrence Liang has written interestingly about challenges of consumption and creatively overcoming them for people/groups who don't regularly have access to high bandwidth.