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Sons of Anarchy Creator On Google Copyright Anarchy 381

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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  • Re:Uhhh... no (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ThatAblaze ( 1723456 ) on Sunday March 16, 2014 @03:18PM (#46500055)

    Convicted felons like Kim Dotcom generate millions of dollars in illegal revenue off our stolen creative work.

    This is hilarious, coming from a guy who writes a TV show about a gang of convicted felons who make millions of dollars in illegal revenue selling guns. You would think he of all people might be a little sympathetic to the idea of people stepping outside the law to provide a service when there is enough demand to do so.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 16, 2014 @03:27PM (#46500113)

    Do you really think Google gives a s**t about free speech or your inalienable right to access unfettered content?

    Yes! That is why they walked away from China.

    Now let's talk about those lost Dr. Who episodes. Or would you rather address the copyright that every orchestra applies to their redition of a Mozart tune.

  • by BronsCon ( 927697 ) <> on Sunday March 16, 2014 @03:36PM (#46500171) Journal
    Yes, because YouTube searches for content to steal. Right.


    Wrong. If it's on YouTube, it's there because someone, somewhere, uploaded it to YouTube and, in doing so, certified that they had the right to do so and agreed to allow YouTube to attach ads to it. That person, the one who uploaded the content they had no right to upload the content, who had no right to agree to allow ads to be attached to it, is the one who is in the wrong; they are the one Kurt Sutter should be pissed at, not Google, who provides a service that allows people to upload their own content. YouTube works on trust, and that trust has been violated, but Google has kept up their end of things; if you see your content on YouTube and you did not authorize its presence there, Google will remove it, but you have to make them aware of it, first.
  • by Bob9113 ( 14996 ) on Sunday March 16, 2014 @03:47PM (#46500225) Homepage

    SoA bitching about Google []

    Google bitching about copyright []

    Apple bitching about Samsung []

    Microsoft and Google bitching about each other []

    Sprint ripping off the warrantless surveillance program []

    University of Phoenix poisoning the student loan program []

    The Koch brothers and friends are always bitching about the bottom 90% having a sense of entitlement for wanting to be able to afford health insurance when they work full time. I'm a lot more sick of the rich and their sense of entitlement to be a little richer, often with a little government intervention needed to get them there.

  • by ShieldW0lf ( 601553 ) on Sunday March 16, 2014 @04:02PM (#46500327) Journal

    google contributes nothing good to society and freeloads off of all content creators period

    I like my Nexus 5. I'm new around here, and I find it very helpful finding my way around the city. I hitchhiked all the way across the continent a few months ago, and Google Maps helped me find my way.

    What did YOU contribute?

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

    by Anonymous Brave Guy ( 457657 ) on Sunday March 16, 2014 @06:24PM (#46501167)

    I'm firmly in the "reform copyright" camp. That is, I think copyright is a useful economic tool for promoting creation and distribution of new work, but the current implementation of copyright law is deeply flawed and no longer fit for purpose in most of the western world.

    That said, I want to challenge this statement you made, because I think it's too strong:

    However, no matter how optimistic you are, what becomes clear is that if copyright dies in a practical sense, you cannot make a living as an artist.

    I don't think this is a black/white question, but rather a matter of probability, scale, and variety of options. Many people do make a living in creative industries without really relying on copyright all that much.

    For example, most of the work I do is subject to copyright protection, and in some of my roles I would normally transfer the copyright to clients/customers at the end of a job. However, often neither I nor my customers much care about that, because if we're talking about software that is running on their web server or embedded in their device, it has much more practical protection against someone ripping it than copyright affords, and in any case the software would have limited value in isolation so there's not much incentive for others to copy it.

    Not everyone in software works on projects where that would be the case, so for others copyright offers a better incentive. But in those cases, other models might also work. I have some hope for the crowd-sourcing idea, as the likes of Kickstarter have already shown that even quite substantial projects staffed by solid industry veterans can pull in a decent amount of funding to match. Potentially there's a lot of middleman removal as a pleasant side effect, all the while still allowing the overall cost of developing a moderately large project to be amortised over many customers (and unlike typical copyright-and-sale business models, potentially allowing different customers to contribute more or less according to their means, so perhaps better satisfying your "democratic model" criteria). I think we need a few more of the bigger projects to actually deliver before drawing too many conclusions here, and of course even the biggest are still orders of magnitude smaller than what copyright-backed industry has achieved, but the early signs look positive from here.

    So while I'd agree that the scales proven so far and the odds of success are not as good without copyright as with it, at least for those kinds of creative work where copyright is fundamental to the existing business model anyway, I think it's too strong to say that you can't make a living as an artist without it. What we should be concentrating on is whether more people wind up making more and better work that is ultimately enjoyed by more people with different variations of copyright or other IP frameworks. The idea is to maximise creativity and productivity for the benefit of society as a whole, IMHO.

  • Re:Sour grapes (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Brave Guy ( 457657 ) on Sunday March 16, 2014 @06:29PM (#46501207)

    Your argument all sounds perfectly reasonable until you consider that people have tried choose-your-own-price experiments before, and it turns out that almost no-one pays anything. People have given their stuff away for free and perfectly legally from the original source, and some people still pirate it from elsewhere!

    So while I'm not for a moment defending today's absurd extremes of copyright, the one thing the copyright model has in general that your alternative proposal doesn't is that it actually works, which is slightly important.

"My sense of purpose is gone! I have no idea who I AM!" "Oh, my God... You've.. You've turned him into a DEMOCRAT!" -- Doonesbury