On Thursday last week a group of Swedish artists and writers spoke up in an op-ed on the topic of file sharing. Their motives and point of view are clear. Their timing is also to act out in support of the coming parliamentary vote that will create a harsher environment around illegal file sharing.
The op-ed begins with the idea that they [the artists/writers] had been too silent in their opposition to file sharing. The reason they state for this silence is the fear of “hate attacks from notorious file sharers” (my translation from: “hatattackerna från notoriska fildelare”).
This is an incredibly interesting position. These artists/writers are public figures and as such have a position from which they can easily publicise any and all opinions they may have. They are the media elite – when they talk reports listen. And yet they are asking for sympathy from the public since they are the victims of a group which does not have the same platform. The very fact that they have written and published an op-ed in one of Sweden’s largest and most important newspaper should suffice to prove this point.
This false humility, this wringing of hands, this wearing of sack-cloth and ashes is irritating but it could also be seen as a rhetorical move. Even so, the position of the poor-little-me-I-am-just-a-pop-star attitude is patently false and more provocative than they seem to understand.
The group of artists/writers who signed the op-ed seem to desire a world where they have the ear of the media, the platform to publish and to be discussed (in polite terms) but are not ready to meet criticism from the broader public – from those who they are selling to!
Whether it is culture or whether it is hamburgers the seller must be able to accept the criticism and choices of the buyers. I am a vegetarian and I will criticize any attempts meat sellers make to portray happy livestock. If an artist/writer makes an uniformed/stupid statement from the platform of fame and position of importance they have achieved, then I have the right to criticize them from below – without this being referred to as a hate-attack. If you speak out in public you must expect a reply. You may not like that reply but if you are unable to cope with the reply then you should not have entered the public arena.
This post was going to be about the content of the opt-ed but as you may have noticed I got stuck on the introduction and could not move beyond. So I take the easy way out and quote from the Industrial IT Group and a blog post they entitle: Stupidity in the age of information
…digital products are, by definition, open for being copied. This is the essence of the notion of digital. While some see this as a curse many of us see this as a blessing. Reinforcing laws surrounding filesharing comes at a prize and I see it as neither possible nor desireable to fight filesharing.
To this I would just like to add the schizofrenic position of encouraging and praising the importance is consumerism through digital gadgets and widgets while attempting to limit their use…
To the politicians about to vote on the coming legal proposals, a question: When you give your child an 120GB ipod – what are you expecting that they will do with it?