...because sharing is dangerous to a system of greed.

Let's just suggest some of the questions here that all from all of this talk arises. Surely how we answer and respond to these questions will define us and our early digital age. Let's have a discourse about things we can act on, not just think about! Truth is revealed in curious circumstances.

I'm against copyright. Also, against trademark and patents I am. Personally, I would join a war against copyright. But where is the army?

If you take systems of knowledge to be systems of power, as Michel Foucault wrote about. Then, ideologies of how ideas get distributed are ideologies of power. The ideological conflicts of the cold war are only just scratches the surface compared to this rift in moral values: sharing versus privacy. When you regulate ideas, more can be concentrated - more quickly; because, it's all abstract. Total control of ideas would be a new level of totalitarianism. Look who is buying up the rights to reproduction for the entire canon of Western visual art? Bill Gates knows his business.

Fortunately with ideological battles, people don't [have to] get hurt physically. If we are not too proud, we can switch relatively fast and cheap to a more reasonable position - to abandon the investment. Since information wants to be free, I think a lot of rights holders will have to do this sooner or later.

library up

Each to his own library; to each her own God Box. With the tool of P2P as a tool, a 'consumer' can easily acquire an entire library of music or movies, for free. The concept of a computer which contains all culture, a God Box, is gaining popular currency with our terabyte computing.

That which is shared is either Massively popular pop music, or underground versions of the same. Or very obscure, mass obscurity. The internet is famous for harbouring the most outlandish contradictions. Libraries are impossible without sharing.

Will having all these resources, public and private instant databases of multiplied culture, make us more or less social?

sharing up

Ideas are a non-substance which can be multiplied without harm to the original - though it doesn't always happen that way.

Ubuntu means I am what I am because of who we all are. This is an inspiring ancient wisdom from Africa. It is also the name of the new free open source software Linux distribution project that aims to take on Microsoft and liberate us from crappy Windows operating systems.

Sharing is good. Sharing is communalism. The idea is each against all versus the idea shared wealth is the new focal point. Sharing is prohibited. In filesharing on the internet cases it is not the person who 'steals' the music by copying it for free who is punished. It is the person who shares their copy, who breaks the law of the license which says you cannot share this.

Development of ideas requires free ideas. We are social beings and Margaret Thatcher nonexistant culture is asinine. If there was "no such thing as society," then who awarded her authority as prime minister? Would we have taken note of her politics? We would not have. There are quite a few individuals who think they can get ahead by individually enclosing some idea they are involved with, putting the flag up to claim it as theirs, make their royalties. Those pennies will be of little use when all ideas are enclosed. The commons is under attack again.

Deeper truths about society are revealed when we look at value and the free / cost dichotomy. What is the value of what is free? Supposedly people value something more and take care of it more responsibly if they have private ownership. On the other hand, what is offered free will often be taken away gratefully, not matter what it is. There is a joke about someone putting a "FREE" sign on a bag of trash. How does greed function and what is the value of wealth if you cannot give it away?

digital dependence up

We can become dependant on the digital, hindering creativity. I feel repressed by my computer sometimes when it keeps crashing but I can't abandon the digital method for analogue without losing too much work. Computers tend to make things seem more simple than they are and therefore take more time than predicted.

Antisocial behaviour? Video games are famous for supplanting human play. Do these computer interactions with strangers yield real social relationships? Or are we more isolated? Is it an illusion of freedom and mobility such as the private automobile is seen to be? Certainly people are already getting isolated in their dark rooms late at night, not sleeping enough. Obscure net cultures may cross time zones but they can't give you a hug, and as Dr. Spock came to realise...

Obsessive collecting: Even I've done this one, if it's free I want it. I started out downloading movies that I didn't want to pay for but was curious about. Now I collect movies. Previously I thought movie ownership was a waste of time because the purpose of film is the singular experience and I rarely repeat viewing. But total privacy to acquire has changed this habit.

I think the specific computer technology of our time is more coincidental than integral to the cause of open sharing ideas. Digital technologies are only technological so much as they apply science and serve as useful tools. We can become mastered by the machine and it ceases to be a tool. Certainly computers are a lot more complex than your average tool. I worry that in 30 years the premonitions about negative consequences of computer hegemony will be more obvious. Right now, as a cyclist, I feel that the technology of the private automobile is detrimental and functions more as a myth than as mobility tool.

cyborg mind up

Multiplication, epistemology, tendency towards error...

Never has the idea of epistemology been more relevant. Now we see actualised, even if only in bits and numbers, a map of our collective psyche. Limits are more clear; poverty, stupidity and disinformation more real.

Computers have a tendency towards error. The tendency is our own. With billions of bits per second the amplification of these errors and the unmanageability of them increases.

Donna Haraway proposed in 1985 a Cyborg Manifesto to blur the boundaries between gender, natural / artificial and human / animal. Her ideas have much significant but we see a lot of moving away from that with Organic food and reactions against computers. Truly, we must learn to accept the technology that is a part of us so it is not more destructive than it has to be. I'm not sure what Haraway exactly meant with her satire. However, I think it is important to take from her idea of humans as cyborg that technology is not all about the new. The old problems are the same ones we have to solve now, just with a different face.

Marxism up

As a creative person I feel it is a lie to say you create things by yourself. Creativity for me is how I connect the ideas I am given by others. To claim sole authorship is theft. As Marx would claim: Private property creates theft. Same with intellectual private property. Sharing of files is not theft or piracy. Prosecuting children for not paying a tithe to the IP title holder is.

Capitalism is an unsustainable system that required colonialism, never ending expansion, to subsist. At first, it was territory. Now, it is more abstract expansion. Genes. Public resource privatisation. It's always some kind of get rich quick fortune scheme. Oil? Did you make that oil or just happen to have the money to hire the rig and pay the government registration fees to gain the title? Same with land and intellectual property for the most part.

Royalties! Is it a coincidence that this term refers to monarchism - to divinely ordained slavery and serfdom?

Actually, all of this Marxist perspective is too extreme. Sure, it is true. However, people are great at living with ambiguity and hypocrisy, thankfully. People are bad capitalists; they share with their family and share with their friends. Same with ideas.

When we look at the societies of the communist states there are many problems without private property. People call these state capitalism because sharing isn't really the paradigm so much as the rhetoric. I think that personal property is important. In our western paradigm of individualism it is important to have individual rights, though they are not enough for beauty and justice.

aboriginal cultures up

The aboriginal / indigenous / NDN issues of private property ownership are quite intriguing. It seems that in Salish traditions, from this part of the world, land was owned in a fairly public sense by groups. However, certain songs and names were private individual property. The economy of this ownership was spiritual more than commercial. Still, names were of economic material value in weddings and other ceremony.

If it wasn't for this aboriginal history I would be even more of an anti-copyright zealot. In computers, intellectually private property is unnecessary and divisive. I see the extension of intellectual private property as a modern enclosure movement that threatens to cause loss of freedom and oppression on a scale greater possibly even than the industrial revolution and the land enclosure [fencing off] movement. However, maybe I'm wrong and the aboriginal idea of private songs is a better one.

Certainly, however, aboriginal traditions of the trickster, holds the rule breaker as laudable. There are other celebrations of ambiguity, too. This does not fit with our binary rule system of legalese. Black and white laws can only be petitioned with money and numbers.

I take from the tradition of aboriginal thought, a caution against being too extreme in opposing copyright. However, that doesn't mean that post-indian warriors can't fight the encroachment of our intellectual property.

The European indigenous term for copying, before all of these copyright battle, derived from the word, "copious." Copy and prosper! up

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