Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Gimme’ Some Truth

According to the BBC’s web site (from a story – – posted on Monday, March 14th ), Cory Doctorow is not just an author. He’s also a blogger and a journalist… and… stand by your beds, Matron’s on her way… he’s an activist too.

And, according to Auntie’s on-line presence, he’s passionately opposed to DRM (Digital Rights Management). Indeed it appears he’s pretty opinionated on the subject too since, in among many other quotes on that website within the self-same article, Mr and Mrs Doctorow’s son states: "The one thing that everyone should have uppermost in your mind when you're designing your business is that computers are never going to get worse at copying things."

Wow… Cory, that really is revelatory stuff… and not just because of your grammar.

Now then, that’ll be… Command (or Control) C for copy… and Control (or Command) V for paste… and, its been that way since… ohhhh… how long now..? Well, the Mac was introduced to the world on January 24th, 1984 and PC’s also use that same shortcut structure…… Ohhhh no… wait a sec, that’s not what he’s on about… oh heavens… nooooooo…

Goodness gracious, Mr and Mrs Doctorow’s grammatically challenged offspring is banging on about something much more important…

What’s that then? Well…. He – Cory D (lest we forget) – believes ‘digital content should be shared freely and that copyright laws should be liberalised to reflect this.’

Blimey… who is this radical thinker who’s discovered the road-map to Utopia?

Well, according to the BBC, he’s a Canadian who lives in London, he writes best selling science fiction novels and co-edits a blog called Boing Boing… He also (apparently) contributes to the Guardian (online) and was, in 2007, named as a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum. Crikey…

But wait… there is more… He is also a former director of the Electronic Frontier Foundation and (golly, how does he find the time) a co-founder of the UK Open Rights Group as well as being a leading proponent of Creative Commons. Errrm… yes… and that is..?

In short, with a Creative Commons license, you keep your copyright but allow people to copy and distribute your ‘work’ provided they give you… a proper credit for so-doing.

So… what kind of ‘work’ falls into this category? Well, according to a Google search with that very phrase in the title, Creative Commons licenses can be applied to all works that would normally fall under copyright, including: books, plays, movies, music, articles, photographs, blogs, and websites.

I see… so… one get to keep one’s copyright… however… it’s also cool (maaaan) for others to copy the work that you have copyrighted (as your own) freely. How splendid, how very forward thinking: that’s a bit like allowing free run with the photocopier in the nearest Public Library.

I think those who read this little Voltaire out on its windswept knoll can safely assume that our newest Canadian pal, Mr Doctorow gets paid (ie, earns money with which he pays his bills) to write for the Guardian (online)… to co-edit Boing Boing… or… write his sci-fi novels… or sit on the Creative Commons committee.

If not, then he either has very understanding backers or is someone of independent means who doesn’t need to work for a living.

Either which way, the viewpoints he’s presented and as outlined within this BBC article are about as lop-sided as the Titanic was about ninety minutes after striking the ‘berg.

The fact of the matter is… IF creatives do not earn (and copyright is rendered worthless – as described above) then those ‘things’ that we all enjoy (music / books / films etc) are gradually (no… make that rapidly) going to dry up.

This Utopian idea as purported by Mr Doctorow of… oh, everything should be, like, free maaaan… is as misguidedly imbecilic.

Any internet economy based on that model or ethic will collapse like a pack of cards disturbed by the breeze when the door is opened.

Consider – if you will – how newspapers are facing meltdown right now… For why? Well… you don’t need to buy one… do you? They’ve been giving away all their 'content' for nothing on the wibbly wobbly web for aeons… and all of ‘em (save Murdoch behind his pay-wall) are wondering why they’re hemorrhaging money.

Duh… it's simple… you cannot give away your ‘goods’ for free and expect to break even let alone make a profit with which to invest in the future. Or, pay the bills. Or eat.

If MC Doctorow wants to give all his work away for nothing… fine, that’s his choice.

But, it is entirely wrong to purport the theory that it is the right way forward. It is absolutely not because that juvenile attitude is simply promoting the rape of creativity.

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