On the Subject of Copyright and the Future

by Irma Arkus

One of the more provocative articles to come my way is from none other than Cracked.com. While known for their hillarious top 10s, and random fact searches (oh, joys of Wikipedia), every once in a while, Cracked also touches upon a subject and blows my mind in the process.

Their recent “5 Reasons The Future Will Be Ruled By B.S.” written by David Wong nails a few of these arguments surrounding recent exertion of control over electronic content and persecution of copyright infringers.

Wong quickly ascertains that information is plentiful, and that marketing, part of the rising corporate dominion hinges on marketing rather than scarcity of goods: “The future is going to hang on whether or not businesses will be able to convince you to pay money for things you can otherwise get for free.”

If we were to make access to Internet a free public utility, and a ubiquitous one, access to information in general, is largely unimpeded for anyone. Use of democratizing tools such as bittorrent also have a great impact – they literally allow you to get a digital copy of just about anything – and not just a copy, but a replica of cultural materials that are just as good as the first edition.

But instead of building this Star Trek-inspired utopia Rodenberry himself would approve of, corporations are trying to build-in scarcity into the technology, creating it artificially in order to possess both demand and supply control. Wong cleverly depicts this using the Penny Lane example:

“Remember the debut of Sony’s futuristic Matrix-style virtual world, PlayStation Home? There was a striking moment when the guys at Penny Arcade logged in and found themselves in a virtual bowling alley… standing in line. Waiting for a lane to open up. In a virtual world where the bowling alley didn’t actually exist. It’s all just ones and zeros on a server–the bowling lanes should be effectively infinite, but where there should have been thousands of lanes for anybody who wanted one, there was only FARTS.”

FARTS or Forced ARTificial Scarcity, Wong says, is the model of the future businesses. And we’ll be the dumbmasses who will accept this unquestionably.

Example of FARTS are already in our midst. From bottled water, to “that new processor Intel is test-marketing, which ships with software that intentionally disables some of the chip’s features. Why? Because along with it they sell a $50 “upgrade card” that does nothing but unlock the capabilities the processor had all along.”

I encourage you to read the article HERE.

none says it better though than Hitler:

Hitler, as “Downfall producer” orders a DMCA takedown from Brad Templeton on Vimeo.