October 13, 2004
Late night thoughts on intellectual property etc.

The Social Affairs Unit blog is everything that Brian's Culture Blog is not, culture-wise. They have a theatre and opera critic, who goes to the theatre and to the opera. They have a guy who reads novels, a guy who goes to art galleries, a guy who goes to classical music concerts. No need for links, just go there and scroll down. It's all there. Seriously, if you are angry with me for not being cultural enough and just bombarding you with my stupid photos and my stupid opinions about old classical CDs that have been around for decades, and non-classical movies ditto, that's the place to go.

The latest posting there is by Tyler Cowen and it is really interesting, I think. It's about the lawsuits that Big Music is launching against lots of quite big downloaders. I tried picking out paragraphs that were better than the other paragraphs, but the truth is they're all good, and I recommend you read the lot.

I have already posted on this subject here, here being at the CNE Intellectual Property blog, which I actually get paid to do a weekly piece for. As Monica in Friends would say: I know!

The line that CNE takes on Intellectual Property is that it is Very Good. But the line I tend to take at that blog is that given the state of technology these days, there's at least a decent chance that a different approach to people stealing ideas will emerge, based on the fact that when they do, that might be good. I mean, take today. This guy stole something of mine, from in among this). Just copied it and stuck it up at his blog. The nerve of him. "Quote of the day" or some such palaver. But he didn't fool me. He nicked it. He couldn't be bothered to write his own posting, so he swiped a bit of mine instead. But am I bitter? Moi? No of course I'm not bitter. Why would I be? This is the age of the Internet, and when this kind of thing happens, the stealee gains as well as the stealer, to the point where we don't think of it as stealing at all.

Now you may say, he did a link to my original, and he cited me as the one who originally wrote it, and he even spelt my surname right, which doesn't happen always I can tell you. What if he hadn't done this, and had really stolen it, to the point where he had tried to pass it off as his own? My point is, even if he had tried that, and I had eventually heard about it only by some very roundabout means, I could have pointed to my original post and said, pretty convincingly I believe, that I thought of it first and aren't I wonderful? Or, other people could have done this for me, thus boosting by global grandeur without me even knowing. In the Internet age, the people who first think of something tend to get the credit and the reputation, provided only that they tell the Internet as soon as they think of it. This didn't use to be, but now it is. When you consider how many people there are in the world, and how well connected they are all getting, that has to mean income-income to those with the reputational grandeur as well as just psychic income.

Besides which, don't knock psychic income. If you have lots of that it's amazing what you can get by on, income-income-wise. And, people will swap a lot of their income-income for psychic income. Or happiness, as it used to be called.

Anyway, I'm going to bed now. Tomorrow, more digital photography!

Posted by Brian Micklethwait at 01:49 AM
Category: Music miscellaneousThe Internet