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Sons of Anarchy Creator On Google Copyright Anarchy 381

Posted by samzenpus
from the samcro-hates-piracy dept.
theodp writes "Over at Slate, Sons of Anarchy creator Kurt Sutter argues that Google's anti-copyright stance is just a way to devalue content, which is bad for artists and bad for consumers. The screed is Sutter's response to an earlier anti-copyright rant in Slate penned by a lawyer who represents Google and is a Fellow at the New America Foundation, a public policy institute chaired by Google Chairman Eric Schmidt that receives funding from Schmidt and Google. 'Everyone is aware that Google has done amazing things to revolutionize our Internet experience,' writes Sutter. 'And I'm sure Mr. and Mrs. Google are very nice people. But the big G doesn't contribute anything to the work of creatives. Not a minute of effort or a dime of financing. Yet Google wants to take our content, devalue it, and make it available for criminals to pirate for profit. Convicted felons like Kim Dotcom generate millions of dollars in illegal revenue off our stolen creative work. People access Kim through Google. And then, when Hollywood tries to impede that thievery, it's presented to the masses as a desperate attempt to hold on to antiquated copyright laws that will kill your digital buzz. It's so absurd that Google is still presenting itself as the lovable geek who's the friend of the young everyman. Don't kid yourself, kids: Google is the establishment. It is a multibillion-dollar information portal that makes dough off of every click on its page and every data byte it streams. Do you really think Google gives a s**t about free speech or your inalienable right to access unfettered content? Nope. You're just another revenue resource Google can access to create more traffic and more data streams. Unfortunately, those streams are now pristine, digital ones of our work, which all flow into a huge watershed of semi-dirty cash. If you want to know more about how this works, just Google the word "parasite."'"
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Sons of Anarchy Creator On Google Copyright Anarchy

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  • Sour grapes (Score:4, Insightful)

    by nurb432 (527695) on Sunday March 16, 2014 @02:46PM (#46499831) Homepage Journal

    Anti-copyright does work for the consumer. It works against content creators that want a stranglehold on their so-called IP. Sounds like hes scared his gravy train might derail and have to start working again and create new content for people..

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 16, 2014 @02:53PM (#46499879)

    it doesn't matter. sure google is making money off of it. so is pirate bay with its porn ads.

    if they didn't, a thousand other people would. unless you are seriously going to rewind the clock
    to 1970 and only allow distribution and playback of analog, concrete media, you're just gonna
    have to get paid some other way or go out of business

    its perfectly fine to point this out, but are you saying there is some other option?

  • Re:Sour grapes (Score:5, Insightful)

    by The Last Gunslinger (827632) on Sunday March 16, 2014 @02:54PM (#46499887)
    Actually it works against content *publishers* (not creators) who have traditionally been the purveyors of grossly unfair contracts and all manner of unsavory business practices (e.g. we own perpetual license to any works you create, etc.) that leveraged their knowledge and access to distribution channels in order to live off the creative efforts of actual content producers. See also: Payola.

    For this no-value-added middleman clown to accuse any other operation of being parasitic is the apotheosis of laughable hypocrisy.
  • Non sequitur (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Stellian (673475) on Sunday March 16, 2014 @02:55PM (#46499899)

    It's so absurd that Google is still presenting itself as the lovable geek who's the friend of the young everyman. Don't kid yourself, kids: Google is the establishment. It is a multibillion-dollar information portal that makes dough off of every click on its page and every data byte it streams. Do you really think Google gives a s**t about free speech or your inalienable right to access unfettered content? Nope. You're just another revenue resource

    That may all be true, but that does not change the fact that Sutter is also part of the establishment and also looking at viewers as a revenue stream. Google vs Hollywood are two bears fighting over a beehive, and we are the bees. Pick your side carefully, when the fight is over someone eats the honey and it's not you or me.

  • by Stan92057 (737634) on Sunday March 16, 2014 @03:00PM (#46499931)
    And should Google be your internet police? Why should Google make sure YOUR content isn't being stolen. Sorry but that's YOUR jobs unless you PAY Google or anyone else to police your works. Nothing is free in this world that includes you hiring people to police your content. I don't steal or share stuff im not soposta i learned that from my parents at a very young age. Why do so many people today think its ok and fix it.
  • by Frater 219 (1455) on Sunday March 16, 2014 @03:10PM (#46499991) Journal

    But the big G doesn't contribute anything to the work of creatives.

    You never use a search engine while writing? They're awfully handy for fact-checking, looking up sources, and so on.

    But I suppose those sorts of activities are not required these days ....

  • Re:Sour grapes (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Jane Q. Public (1010737) on Sunday March 16, 2014 @03:24PM (#46500095)

    "Actually it works against content *publishers* (not creators) who have traditionally been the purveyors of grossly unfair contracts and all manner of unsavory business practices (e.g. we own perpetual license to any works you create, etc.) that leveraged their knowledge and access to distribution channels in order to live off the creative efforts of actual content producers. See also: Payola."

    It's not either-or. Many "content creators" are their own publishers, and are responsible for at least as much copyright abuse as publishers-only. (We're looking at you, Disney.)

  • Re:Sour grapes (Score:4, Insightful)

    by MightyMartian (840721) on Sunday March 16, 2014 @03:43PM (#46500211) Journal

    Human culture existed for thousands of years before copyright, and during that long expanse there has been no lack of music, drama, prose, poetry, painting and sculpture. Strangely enough "content creators" did make a living.

  • Re:Sour grapes (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 16, 2014 @03:44PM (#46500215)

    The point of copyright law, I think, should be whether it is good for 'society' or not. Whether it is good for the content producer, the consumer, or google shouldn't matter quite as much as whether it is good for society as a whole. Would creative people keep producing new and wonderful content it the protection of their efforts were more limited, if their distributors and heirs were less rich? I think yes, because I think artists are internally driven to produce. It would be more difficult for them to produce works beyond a certain scale (where they need mega-millions to do what they want to do), but that might not be a bad thing. Would the big-bucks producers (Hollywood, Bollywood, big studios) keep financing big works if the duration of their protection were more limited? Again, I think so, just that they would need to keep working, rather than relying on the sale of articles out of their library. The effect of copyright law on Google, Hollywood Studios, or even the artists should be secondary to it's effects on creative production. So, short-term protection should be the order of the day imo, not long-term protection.

  • Re:Sour grapes (Score:5, Insightful)

    by The Last Gunslinger (827632) on Sunday March 16, 2014 @03:52PM (#46500259)
    You illustrate my point. The suits at Disney responsible for lobbying and litigating IP rules are not the people creating characters and animating stories. And the fact that the company takes creative content (e.g. new stories) and uses their copyrighted character to act them out does not make them creators of content. It makes them thieves.

    Show me the independent artist who is being serviced by today's 120-year copyright protections, and I'll show you a BitTorrent user who isn't pirating stuff.
  • Re:Sour grapes (Score:2, Insightful)

    by west (39918) on Sunday March 16, 2014 @04:00PM (#46500309)

    > I think yes, because I think artists are internally driven to produce.

    Once they're no longer living in their parents basement, they're also driven to eat.

    If you don't want to make provisions for your content creators to be paid, expect your music to be like the musician in the coffee shop, your books to be like fan-fic, and your movies to be closer to YouTube videos. Not all are terrible and some are excellent, but for most consumers, not a match for what they enjoy today.

    I'm a programmer - I'd be upset if my Boss told me he was taking the code I wrote, but not paying me. And then told me it wasn't stealing, because I still had the source on my hard drive. So I understand if content providers don't see the difference between piracy and theft - I don't.

  • Re:Sour grapes (Score:5, Insightful)

    by dryeo (100693) on Sunday March 16, 2014 @04:44PM (#46500547)

    And how would going back to a 14+14 year copyright term hurt the average artist? They'd still get paid, just have to produce something new more regularly. Even the one hit wonders would make good money and if they sensibly invest it they still might never need to work.
    In your case as a programmer for hire, it would mean that your Boss would be more motivated to keep you around and happy instead of taking your code (for a price) and milking it forever.

  • Re:Sour grapes (Score:3, Insightful)

    by west (39918) on Sunday March 16, 2014 @05:12PM (#46500737)

    A 28 year copyright term would probably not hurt productivity significantly.

    I find the whole lengthening of copyright fairly obnoxious and would be fine with something reasonable (max 28 years or artists lifetime?).

    But its use as as justification for piracy of recently produced stuff is near ludicrous. It's like justifying robbing someone because of US foreign policy.

  • by Immerman (2627577) on Sunday March 16, 2014 @05:17PM (#46500761)

    Not necessarily - if I could download content from 14 years ago free and clear of legal encumbrance, then I'd probably watch a lot more old content, it's not like modern content has improved dramatically, and there's no shortage of old classics I've never gotten around to watching, thus reducing the temptation to pirate anything. Of course that only makes the problem worse for the media giants - their problem is not specifically piracy, but that I'm not paying for their new content. And for that I can only say that until they start offering a quality product at a reasonable price I won't be buying much regardless.

  • Re:Sour grapes (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Jane Q. Public (1010737) on Sunday March 16, 2014 @05:23PM (#46500791)

    "The suits at Disney responsible for lobbying and litigating IP rules are not the people creating characters and animating stories."

    Ahem. Yes, they are. They build their own 3D animation studios. They hire their own artists (not up-and-coming talented bands or movie stars) in-house. Disney has almost always done it that way.

    Yes, Disney *IS* the creator of that content, not just the publisher. You're splitting hairs that are so fine they're not even visible under a microscope.

  • Re:Sour grapes (Score:1, Insightful)

    by west (39918) on Sunday March 16, 2014 @05:53PM (#46500943)

    First, no artist was *ever* forced to go through the big labels. Until recently, they provide better access to the market place than anything else (and I think we're all better off because of it), but that is a *choice*. Big difference. Having your work pirated is *not* your choice.

    Second, in the last 100 years, we've seen a huge increase in the variety of music, books and art that is generally available to the public that puts any other era in human history to shame. If the *IAA have successfully stifled creativity, it's pretty hard to tell. (Remember, the era of real RIAA power is 1960-1995, often considered the "golden age").

    And lastly, the idea that pirating artist's music is justified because you don't like the RIAA makes about as much sense as piloting jet planes into buildings because you don't like American foreign policy. There's a massive logical disconnect between the action and the target of hatred.

    Honestly, I find hatred of the RIAA pretty thin moral justification for stealing from artists. Honestly, I don't care if you're stealing. Maybe you can't afford the media (but can afford several hundred dollars for a computer to post here). But let's not pretend it isn't stealing, even if it's pretty low level.

  • Re:Sour grapes (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 16, 2014 @05:55PM (#46500961)

    Yes, Disney *IS* the creator of that content, not just the publisher. You're splitting hairs that are so fine they're not even visible under a microscope.

    You mean all the stuff they took from the public domain, drew up some vision of the characters and now outright own the whole thing instead of the drawings they made? That kind of creation?

  • Re:Sour grapes (Score:5, Insightful)

    by DrJimbo (594231) on Sunday March 16, 2014 @07:45PM (#46501653)

    Historically, the arts have been funded by patronage. The commercialization of the arts is a fairly recent phenomenon. Yes, many great artists have died penniless with their genius unrecognized. But that means they created out of love for their art and the need to express their genius not out of a desire for financial renumeration. In addition, original works of art are far more valuable than reproductions. So not only is there an innate desire in true creators to create, there is also an innate desire in others to reward this creation, after the fact. There is joy in the act of creation and there is joy in others when they appreciate what was created. I've been in movie theaters where the audience stood up and gave the movie standing ovation even though none of the creators were there to hear the applause. There is no doubt that at that point in time many people would have paid generously if making a payment was as easy as tapping a button on their phone. Films that moved people would be rewarded.

    The notion that patronage does not work is only in the context of a world where the arts have been bastardized and exploited for monetary gain. Of course people who are embedded in the commercialization model will have a difficult time making the transition. This is a feature not a bug. It would be a benefit to have the exploiters weeded out so more genuine creation and genius can flourish. It is insane to for us to give the role of story-teller to Hollywood writers. They are not the people who should be teaching our children about relationships. Sex sells. Violence sells. But these are not the stories and myths we want our children to be raised on. The information we pass on to the next generation should not be based primarily on what is most titillating.

    As the cost to copy, store, and transmit information continues to plummet, the commercialization model becomes less and less tenable, requiring draconian measure to give content owners more and more control over all aspects of information transfer and processing. It would require a fascist dictatorship over information.

    OTOH, the patronage model becomes easier as information technology advances. It can be fueled by instant micropayments so everyone who chooses to can participate and vote with their wallets. In the long run it is the only sensible approach. But even in the short term, it is the only way I know of to stem the tide of cultural exploitation and destruction that the commercialization of the arts has caused.

    Culture belongs to everybody. It is our birthright and it is the lifeblood of our civilization. It is crazy to lock it up tightly due to the fact that the cost of information transfer and storage is getting close to zero. The cost to our society and to our civilization for this lock-up is enormous because we are denying our children and our children's children their birthright. It is a form of cultural and societal suicide. The miracle of life is based on passing genetic information from one generation to the next. Human beings were able to supercharge this passing on of information by creating side-channels: art, language, history, science and the humanities, even religion. Evolution in these side-channel information transfers was staggeringly fast compared to genetic evolution. Stifling this form of evolution is the ultimate triumph of mediocrity over genius.

  • Re:Sour grapes (Score:5, Insightful)

    by AK Marc (707885) on Sunday March 16, 2014 @10:33PM (#46502401)

    First, no artist was *ever* forced to go through the big labels.

    You sound like the people defending Ticketmaster. There was an act that couldn't get venues or insurance unless they paid the Ticketmaster Tax. They weren't "forced" to use Ticketmaster, they just weren't able to tour without them. I used to go to the UA theater when I was a kid (the theater is long gone, and I think they left the theater owning business) but yes, they would *only* show big label sanctioned movies.

    There's a reason why Robert Rodriguez had to sell the rights to the completed movie El Mariachi to get it shown in a theater. The contracts blocked access to anyone but the big labels. I'm sure there were a handfull of theaters that were dollar theaters or the like that could show it, but they don't even if they "can". Instead, it gets bought and re-mastered for millions (for a sub $100k movie), and shows for a loss after making more than 10x the production cost of the movie (mostly lost to "sound" and "marketing").

    Yeah, you aren't "forced" to go through a big label, but you'll never get your movie shown in the US unless you sell the rights to them or pay them millions for approval.

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