Re: [rumori] John Perry Barlow in Wired
Date: Mon Oct 16 2000 - 23:22:07 PDT

Sorry I don't have the whole article but here's an excerpt ...



Here's the present score: Divx was stillborn. SDMI will probably never be
born owing to the wrangling of its corporate parents. And DeCCS (the DVD
decryptor) is off and running, even though the Motion Picture Association of
America has prevailed in its lawsuit aimed at stopping web sites from posting
- or even linking to - the disc cracking code. While that decision is
appealed, DeCCS will keep spreading: As the Electronic Frontier Foundation
was defending three e-distributors inside Kaplan's court last summer,
nose-ringed kids outside were selling t-shirts with the program silk-screened
on the back.


Most white collar jobs already consist of mind work. The vast majority of us
live by our wits now, producing 'verbs' - that is, ideas - rather than
'nouns', like automobiles or toasters. Doctors, architects, executives,
consultants, receptionists, televangelists, and lawyers all manage to survive
economically without 'owning' their cognition.

I take further comfort in the fact that the human species managed to produce
pretty decent creative work during the 5,000 years that preceded 1710, when
the Statute of Anne, the world's first modern copyright law, passed the
British parliament. Sophocles, Dante, da Vinci, Botticelli, Michelangelo,
Shakespeare, Newton, Cervantes, Bach - all found reasons to get out of bed in
the morning without expecting to own the works they created.

Even during the heyday of copyright, we got some pretty useful stuff out of
Benoit Mandelbrot, Vint Cerf, Tim Berners-Lee, Marc Andreessen and Linus
Torvalds, none of whom did their world-morphing work with royalties in mind.
And then there are all those great musicians of the last 50 years who went on
making music even after they discovered that the record companies got to keep
all the money.

Nor can I resist trotting out, one last time, the horse I rode back in 1994,
when I explored these issues in a Wired essay called "The Economy of Ideas"
(Wired 2.03, page 84). The Grateful Dead, for whom I once wrote songs,
learned by accident that if we let fans tape concerts and freely reproduce
those tapes - 'stealing' our intellectual 'property' just like those heinous
Napsterians - the tapes would become a marketing virus that would spawn
enough Deadheads to fill any stadium in America. Even though Deadheads had
free recordings that often were more entertaining than the band's commercial
albums, fans still went out and bought records in such quantity that most of
them went platinum.

My opponents always dismiss this example as a special case. But it's not.
Here are a couple of others closer to Hollywood. Jack Valenti, head of the
MPAA and leader of the fight against DeCCS, fought to keep VCR's out of
America for half a dozen years, convinced they would kill the film industry.
Eventually that wall came down. What followed reversed his expectations (not
that he seems to have learned from the experience). Despite the ubiquity of
VCR's, more people go to the movies than ever and videocassette rentals and
sales account for more than half of Hollywood's revenues.

The RIAA is unalterably convinced that the easy availability of freely
downloadable commercial songs will bring on the apocalypse, and yet, during
the two years since mp3 music began flooding the net, CD sales have risen by
20 percent.


excerpted from "The Next Economy of Ideas: Will Copyright Survive the Napster
Bomb? Nope, But Creativity Will" by John Perry Barlow, from Wired 8.10

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