John Degen “weapons down, please”

May 14th, 2010 by Barry Sookman Leave a reply »

Check out John Degen’s post yesterday. In it he laments the “inflammatory and inaccurate rhetoric that seems to sprout up and spread like dandelions whenever anybody in power utters the words ‘copyright protection'”. His observations about the rhetoric around DRMs are also insightful. Asking people to tone down the dialog for a while, he asks “can we please put away the revolvers, handcuffs, chains, scary-looking safes, and weird dystopias?”

John also reminds us that a central purpose of  copyright is to enable individuals to decide for themselves how and when they want the product of their creativity to be presented and disseminated to the public. He says:

I’ve been in this discussion for the better part of a decade now, ever since a colleague of mine showed me this cool site called Napster but couldn’t quite explain to me how the musicians were being paid when he downloaded their songs. I’ve heard all the arguments for open content and unrestricted file-sharing. I’ve read Lessig, Doctorow and Geist at great length. I am aware of the theoretical terrain.

I’ve advanced the professional writer’s perspective (aka, my perspective) here, on other blogs, in many comment streams and in the mainstream media. For my sins, I have been accused of all manner of anti-consumer, anti-user, anti-freedom, anti-democracy, anti-humanity thoughts and behaviors. After all that work to protect my rights, and after all that scorn, my central question remains unanswered – if I’m not allowed to decide if, when and/or how my work travels the various digital highways and byways, how am I being protected as a professional artist? Note, my request is not for control over something someone else has or does or wants to make; it’s for confident control over my own work.

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