I jokingly mention in my bio that I’m a fount of useless knowledge, and among those topics I am fluent in, one is 20th century history. Sometimes, though, it can be important to remind ourselves of such things. First, I will quickly review what I am looking at this week.
There’s a war going on in the United States over culture, in simplest terms. In today’s “Copy and Paste” wired world and the ubiquitous “Share” button, this means the battles come down to copyright law. On one side, content producers who argue intellectual property should be protected so it can be controlled and monetized, encouraging artists to produce works. On the other side is, frankly, everybody else. Strict copyright laws stifle innovation and potentially encroach upon freedom of expression. The thing is, the key assumptions underpinning the major content producers’ arguments are flawed. First, research is continuing to show that the current policy paradigm does not work. And, more importantly, today’s artists don’t have their craft put away in the closet while they wait tables, hoping to get discovered and signed. Artists are able to and certainly do get their work out there, whether it’s film (YouTube), music (SoundCloud, iTunes, etc.), art/photography/fashion (DA, Flickr, countless others), or even video games (App Store, Google Play, Steam). The successful ones monetize. As such, there truly is no shortage of American culture today. Anyone who has even casually browsed the Web the past few years has seen the abundance of cultural works in this country, and the great thing is that it’s globalized. So many different art media now can have seamless collaboration across the globe. Unfortunately, the other end sees its industry dying due to this reduced dependence of artists on its publicity machine.