Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Sharing the fait accompli

I firmly believe that piracy will be a non-issue in about twenty years time. Not because of any massive political shifts, but because I and my fellow generational peers will be in our forties by then.

And, by feat of being somewhat contemporary, the internet.

I base this on the fact that piracy is a very hard issue to explain to kids who weren't around when the internet was a New and Strange thing. To those who were born only recently, it has always been there, just like electricity has always been there for us slightly older people. And just like there is an inbuilt absurdity to the claim that electricity is fatal to the candle industry, so the kids will view the claim that the internet is fatal to the culture industry.

To them, the internet is just a fact of nature. And the fact that just about any song or movie can be found, downloaded and shared on the internet comes as natural as the fact that birds migrate - one might marvel at the sight of it, but to question its political feasibility is a very odd thing to do.

And trying to stop it is an even stranger thing. Like trying to regulate the tides.

The very straightforward thing is that things can't be New and Strange forever. The internet might have been that ten years ago, but that was ten years ago. We now live ten years later, and have had ten years to incorporate it into our everyday lives. Which we have - irrevocably.

It's too late to say that the internet will change our lives. The bigger change at this point would be an attempt to remove the internet from the equation.

Candles did not disappear because of electricity, and culture will not disappear because of the internet. Why would it? There's more of it around than there has ever been! Available at our fingertips, just waiting for us to remember that we want to experience it again. And the only reason anyone calls it "piracy" is because that's what it was called when they were kids.

Today, this is called is to share things.

It would seem times are changing. Let's change with them, shall we?

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