There is a growing trend in our current age where the Internet is trying to mirror the laws of nature and create a free, open society. In a lot of ways the Internet is the opposite of control. It is the opposite of money. It is the opposite of law.
Look back to one of the first big "problems" the Internet created: Napster. This was an example of the Internet trying to open up a new way for us to share creativity. This was the Internet trying to open up a new way of life for people. But wait, you ask, how can this be correct when people aren't making money off their music? It's a fairly involved subject...
Most real musicians do not create music for money - they create it because they have a burning desire in themselves to share their perspective with the world. Most people want their music to be enjoyed by others and they want others to know about them. They don't do it for money. The money is just a part of what comes with writing good music - and doing anything good in life really. While with the advent of Napster, Kazaa, Torents and the like musicians no longer make money directly when people buy their music, they also have the flip side of free marketing, free branding and the ability to reach the top in a matter of days. I think the Internet is trying to show us a new reality of commerce and I think people are too blind to try to adjust or embrace what is happening.
The same thing is happening with movies. People are totally upset with movies being downloaded for free. How are the movie companies supposed to make money? What incentive does it give the movie companies to create movies if nobody is buying them? And on and on. You have to look at it deeper. The only ones who are really pissed about this are the big movie companies that produce junk anyway. Same with music. What the Internet is trying to do is purge these giants and allow the more quality driven, less profit driven, people to come in and offer their value. I'm all for people making a profit, but if people are sharing things online for free and you're losing you had better figure out how to change. People aren't going to change. And there's not enough law out there to stop everyone.
People like Alex Jones totally get it. He is a true example of how to use the Internet appropriately. He is so concerned with serving people and helping others that he doesn't do things with a profit motive, at least not the fool's kind of profit. His profit is when people become better. He profits when people become smarter. He profits when others profit. He will spend hundreds of thousands of dollars out of his own pocket to produce a documentary video only to share it online for free. He gets it. He knows the age of profiting off copyrights is coming to an end. He knows that sometimes it is much more important to help people than to profit off them. And because of this, Alex Jones has become one of the most powerful people of our age.
As long as the Internet exists (and things may be changing in the near future) there is always going to be bootlegging and people downloading things "illegally". But why is it that almost everybody you know downloads things illegally but doesn't feel bad about it? Why is it that everybody on the Internet has downloaded copyrighted content for free and doesn't even think twice about it? Why is this such a problem? Well it's only a problem for the people who have something to lose. Things are changing. Deal with it. The industrial revolution changed things as well - that's life. The Internet isn't about controlling content and owning copyrights. It is about collaboration and opening things up for free. It is about leveling the playing field. The Internet is trying to show us the ways for a society WITHOUT money, but the people are too stupid to understand such a concept.
Countless examples of the Internet mode of law can already be seen throughout history. Look at the paid IBM web server VS the free Apache web server. IBM came out of the gates creating a paid version of a web server for people to host their websites on. IBM paid hundreds of programmers and built out a robust piece of software that had to be licensed for a fee for people to use. Apache took a more Internet-based approach. They didn't hire and pay programmers to build it. And they didn't charge people to use it. Instead they had a group of passionate programmers build out the software for free and for fun because profit wasn't their motive. Quality was. They knew the IBM web server sucked. They knew that the model of paying people VS bringing on passionate people was a losing model. So Apache took the open-source approach of allowing anybody to edit the software and allowing anybody to do whatever they wanted with the code. As a result Apache quickly came in to dominate the IBM web server and the whole idea of open-source software really started to change people's minds. How was it possible for a bunch of people to work for free and totally dominate the paid product by IBM? Well there are a lot of factors there and much food for thought, however, it is not the purpose of this post to address them. It is the purpose of this post to show that the Internet is bringing in a new model should we understand it and embrace it.
The law simply can't keep up with the Internet. The Internet is the law, not the current planetary power structure. The only way the law of the Internet can be stopped is if the planetary power structure stamps out the Internet similar to how they stamped out the Alexandrian library some 2000 years ago. Throughout history there are always brief blips of time where information increases and people really start to figure things out. New technology comes along that totally changes our paradigm and presents a new, higher way of life, should we understand it, embrace it and fight for it. We are living in these times right now. The only question that remains is are we willing to defend freedom, openness and evolve to the next level that the Internet is bringing us? Or are we going to sit back and allow our current power structure to take over our Internet and do the thinking for us?
Filed under:Internet / Tech, Law