There’s a fascinating debate going on behind Facebook’s walled garden at the moment on the alleged link between those who find copyright as it stands a resistible idea and the far political right, especially that which might be found in Europe.
It’s been kicked off by a reference to a post which argues that the dynamics of the anti-copyright lobby, in particular the Pirate Bay, in many cases feed off the same impulses as such right-wing movements – and may, indeed, even be funded by related players. I have no means of verifying whether these assertions are true – and I am open, as always, to publishing any clarifications or corrections by the parties involved.
Neither can I reveal too much of what is being conducted in that irritatingly semi-private universe of Zuckerberg’s, as this would impact on the privacy of those participating. But here’s my – to date – only contribution to the debate in question, as I try and express my unhappiness with the tone of the conversation – as well as whither all this might be leading us:
“The Pirate Party UK was founded on similar angry-bloke disaffection, and feelings of victimisation and powerlessness, which far right parties have traditionally exploited.” You start with this [...], it seems to me, in order to type a whole range of serious and considered thinkers as practically National Front members. I think this is massively unfair to the thoughtful people in this debate and would simply ask you again to answer the question you didn’t answer the other day: why does modern copyright need to extend to seventy- and hundred-year periods instead of the original 14 years I believe the American Constitution initially established? In a world where thought develops and flies like no other time in history, surely – in order to balance the needs of innovation against return on creative investment – we need *shorter* periods of copyright and not longer ones. (Especially when digital technologies allow us to hit a much larger market much more quickly.) When I see you proposing 14 years or 20 years or even 30 years as a maximum for all publishers and owners of content, then I’m entirely with you on this matter. But whilst you insist the real problem is that the concept of copyright is not fully taken onboard in its entirety as it stands – and that the first battle must be to reimpose a broken version *before* repairing its functionality – I’m afraid your logic has utterly lost me. Re-engineer copyright for a digital age, by all means. But re-engineer it …
As far as the quote from the original post linked to above is concerned, the “angry-bloke disaffection” and sense of “victimisation and powerlessness” alluded to have been exploited just as much by the triangulatory instincts of parties like New Labour and the Conservatives of recent times as they have been by the real far right: this, then, hardly provides significant evidence for believing the serious thinkers I mention are acting out of a nationalistic “angry-bloke disaffection”.
Unless, of course, you believe corporate bodies are taking over the world with the avowed aim (or accidental side-effect) of making a laughing-stock of the very idea of representative democracy – as well as its power to protect the people from transnational abuses.
Which might, in the light of economic crises and other recent matters various, just be the case after all.