Two things have come into my cyber-view this week, both of which should, in five years, be regarded as Historic Moments, as the last victory spasms of the headless chickens that are the Old Media.
First, this terrific post about about newspapers' complaints against Google et al. as traditional print bemoans the ground it is losing to t'Internet. And, as Sarah foresees in her blog, today we have the decision to jail the Pirate Bay privateers. And here. Everywhere, no doubt. (Read the first link from the CBC and see some of the really terrifically stoopid comments. I wouldn't say that I would concur with the numpty that claims 'Murderers get less in Canada', but 1 year of hard time does seem... harsh? Maybe the judge misunderstood the whole case -- the poor old gadge -- and thought that it was real pirates he was trying, and thought that he had to thrown them under the incessantly marching feet of the Law, even if they didn't have patches over their eyes, parrots on their shoulders and speak to each other in ooo'arrg Cornish...)
So doubtless there are champagne glasses clinking at Corporate HQ of The Times and Warner Brothers and Sony this afternoon -- surely all of these companies are owned by the same people now, right? And so I thought that this would be a nice time to add my voice to the discussion, which is only really an echo of much more informed opinions. But it seems to me that a little of undiluted Marxism comes in handy here, that we don't even need to overly-complicate things.
It's quite simple, really: The print media, the recording industry, the film industry all argue from the assumption of their inalienable right to exist. They talk as though it was thus beginning, is now and ever shall be profits without end. But these industries are really quite new and fresh, and were only enabled by a very specific mode of production. And when that mode of prodiction changes, as it most certainly has done, their market disappears.
It's like monks filing an injunction against Gutenberg for lost earnings and expecting the printing presses to be smashed to pieces to protect their neat little monopoly on knowledge. Well, I'm sure the monks probably did try that on, but that doesn't mean that they should have been indulged.
That's it, right? Or am I missing something?
Perhaps, instead of trying to present themselves as the unassailable Megaliths that enjoy God-given rights to pick our pockets that transcend time, technology and reason, the print media, the film and recording industries should try to keep themselves alive by creating a sense of nostalgia for overpriced CDs, or play on our sympathies for the lost arts of A&R men. Like people who make candles with their hands. Or small-town newspapers, I guess.
(I'm doing a lot of this straight-up Marxism lately... remind me to see someone about that...)