Where Silicon Valley wants us …


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Worth a moment of your time …


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Another myth about online piracy exploded.

Does piracy act as promotion?

Common sense (and real world experience) says NO.
Magical unicorn economic theory (the kind they teach at Silicon Valley) says, “sure it does”.

Can’t introduce this topic any better than the first couple of paragraphs of the linked blog. Read on:


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DMCA: Denying Monetary Compensation Always | MuseWire

Dear Bill Clinton,

the stain you left on Monica’s blue dress was nothing compared to this mess. Should have taken the rose coloured spectacles off.


The Trichordist

Who Benefits from the DMCA?
The ISPs (Internet Service Providers) who are facilitating all this trafficking of stolen material are completely off the hook because of the safe harbor provision. Imagine a company that helped people tap into the water system of your town. On the surface, they are simply selling plumbing and faucets. “Hey, we’re not making money from stealing water,” they might say, “we’re making money on sink fixtures; we can’t help it if the water people run through those fixtures is stolen.”

Yet that is essentially what Title II of the DMCA allows to occur, but with intellectual property instead of water. And by letting corporations profit from services that promote the stealing of copyrights, we send a powerful message to everyone: theft is acceptable if you can get a law passed that exempts you from prosecution.

So screwed up is Title II of the DMCA that…

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When Sharing is not Caring: The myth of the Sharing Economy

We now routinely have politicians prattling on about the need for ‘disruption’. They are regurgitating misleading propaganda. If they understood the true consequences of disruption and the so called ‘sharing economy’ they’d shut up very quickly.

This is an amazing bit of analysis. Very clear sighted, and all the more devastating for it.

Next time someone casually drops the word ‘disruption’ into a conversation, you might care to employ some of the arguments advanced here.


And while we are at it …

How about the rampant malarkey swirling around the concept of ‘crowdsourcing’?

Anyone with a functioning brain cell must have spotted the flaws, contradictions, and hidden consequences in this concept.


Have a read:


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A New Dark Age: Shedding Light on Where the Internet is Taking Us

It’s hard to swallow that the Internet, a wondrous creation replete with promise, far from democratising culture and ushering in a new golden age, is actually doing exactly the opposite. That a kind of digital deforestation has been going on, involving the wholesale degradation and destruction of once thriving cultural eco-systems all over the planet.

All to benefit … a tiny elite – a remarkably homogenous group, composed of libertarian right wing speculators, investors, and inventors working in the tech industry.

They have built their wealth by parasitically exploiting other people’s creations, and convincing consumers that art is, or should be, free. A siren call that’s been enthusiastically taken up and turned into a bedrock sense of entitlement by a generation of freeloaders.

In the process, a large section of the population, cultural or creative workers, have seen their livelihoods shrink dramatically or disappear. This is not the natural evolution of history and society. It’s been a thoroughly mediated development, an entirely cynical and calculated strategy pulled off by Big Tech companies.

The cumulative negative effects on society have yet to fully manifest themselves. Artists have been at the forefront, the canaries in the mine, but to most people, artists are of no serious consequence.

That’s because most consumers lump artists into two broad categories – either filthy rich and overpaid, or gutter trash who deserve obscurity for not making the first category.

These stereotypes flow directly into behaviours like pirating and illegal file sharing. When you’re driven by envy or contempt, it’s easy to skip empathy.

The truth is that MOST artists belong to neither category. They are just like any other ordinary worker. They occupy (with increasing difficulty) a middle level, where art is a job, requiring hours of concentrated toil, every day, and that brings in a living income, maybe, probably, not much; but enough to get by, so that artists can focus on their art. Yes, art actually takes time, and practice – by which I don’t mean learning, I mean ‘doing’, which you can’t do if you’re trying to hold down a ‘real job’.

So real artists are people, just like everyone else, who do real things, and flourish, or not, depending on how well they do it, and how many people are interested in paying them for it.

Or, that’s how it was. Because for the last fifteen years, the crusading monopolies dominating the Internet have done their best to convince everyone that art should be free. And if it’s not for free, they have just gone ahead and helped themselves anyway.

So artists – writers, musicians, film makers, basically anyone who makes products that can be digitally cloned, are being marginalised and ruined, along with all the people who depend on them.

How? By the countless daily bad choices of ignorant or uncaring consumers, who have drunk the poison Kool Aid offered by the cynical liars in Silicon Valley. They fail to see that at the end of the road they have chosen to ride free, will be an arid desert, leading to a cliff.

The following is a short list of enlightening books on this topic. They’re highly engaging and non technical. Warning: they will make you gasp and reconsider all your prior assumptions.

All these books are available on Amazon’s Kindle store, which is a pretty thrifty and easy way to legally purchase books, so the Internet isn’t all bad!

No, like the fire of Prometheus, as Shelley said, the Internet is simultaneously beautiful, and terrible. The problem has been the unmediated introduction of a technology, without adequately considering its implications. Now more than ever we need to wake up to the true potential of this tool, and ask ourselves, who is it really benefiting, and at what cost to everyone else?

Andrew Keen The Internet Is Not the Answer

Scott Timberg Culture Crash: The Killing of the Creative Class

Robert Levene Free Ride

Chris Ruen Freeloading

Astra Taylor The People’s Platform: Taking back power in the digital age

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Time to Wake Up

This is a remarkably clear sighted and thorough summary of how Silicon Valley has used the internet to transfer wealth from creatives to themselves, and set about transforming culture and politics to suit their own aspirations.


Don’t care about the fate of creatives?

But wait, there’s more …

“At this point you might be asking why the loss of billions in the media and entertainment sectors is worth worrying about in the face of the benefits ubiquitous Internet technology has brought you. My feeling is that Media is just the canary in the coal mine, and that in the next twenty years millions of the jobs you are training for might be automated. The Economist recently ran an article in which they projected the probability your job being taken by a robot in the next 20 years. Citing work from two Oxford University economists they wrote that “jobs are at a high risk of being automated in 47% of the occupational categories into which work is customarily sorted.”

And this is a conclusion that begs contemplation:

“Is Peter Thiel’s idea of corporations, free to reap monopoly profits free from government regulation, what we want for our country? Thiel’s icon Ayn Rand defines freedom as “To ask nothing. To expect nothing. To depend on nothing.” How far is this from Jefferson’s great inspiration, the Greek philosopher Epicurus, who defines the good life in these terms:

The company of good friends

The freedom and autonomy to enjoy meaningful work

The willingness to live an examined life with a core faith or philosophy.”

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