Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Sharing: Costs and Benefits

From The Wire (Hat Tip: Jonathan Segel): poet and archivist (UbuWeb) Kenneth Goldsmith, following a series of minor epiphanies, supports file sharing (ironic and so-Zeitgeistlich money lines: The minute I get something, I just crave more. And so something has really changed – and I think this is the real epiphany: the ways in which culture is distributed have become profoundly more intriguing than the cultural artifact itself) and in response, musician Chris Cutler discusses the Collateral Damage. (Carry-away line: Where is honour?)

I am not much of a recorded music person, so I've not been much affected by this debate, but I have followed the discussion and have been disappointed by the reluctance to find a reasonable and ethical middle ground. If I say "Share and sample away!" then fine, permission granted, but if I say that I would prefer you not share or sample my work, in my my honest Bartleby-inspired tone, the you shouldn't share or sample my work. But not because of my time-limited, fair-use-limited legal title to the work (let alone the financial consequences of that title), but simply because my connection to my work is personal, even intimate, and it is a simple matter of dignity and respect among human beings to recognize that creative works do belong to a personal sphere that can only be entered with consent.


Anonymous said...

I think we gotta get away from letting the value of art be determined by what someone is willing to pay for it. Maybe we need to re-wind back to Bach's era - I don't think he ever sold a single piece, and copyright didn't exist then. Bach was paid for what he was - a good musician - not for what he produced.

Doug said...

While your sentiment is noble I subscribe to the argument that if we do not accept this form of reasoning for physical goods why should we for intellectual?

When you sell a sculpture an "intimate connection" you had with that physical object is forgone. When you release a concept to the public domain the copies of that concept (or conceptual work of art) which resides in both physical form and in the minds of the perceivers is no longer your "property" in any real sense.