Darknet: Hollywood’s War Against the Digital Generation

September 10, 2011 § 1 Comment

As usual (and weirdly, I swear I’m not doing this on purpose), the thing I wrote yesterday is a perfect segue to today’s selection. Except J.D. Lasica’s scope is much broader. Plus he’s not an idiot, which helps. As the title of his book might suggest, the question at issue is PIRACY, only not really, because “piracy” is a misnomer. But that’s what’s the belching insaneosaurus MPAA/RIAA-types call it. The thing of course being file sharing, and remix-behaviors generally. Anything that would make Jack Valenti lacerate his own anus due to TERRORIST DIGITAL THIEVES ENGAGING IN THIEVING THIEVERY. Lasica’s point can be tl;dr’d by a quote borrowed from Clay Shirky — all the dumbass olds over at Lockdown Central (in this particular case the RIAA) are any good at is breeding “antibiotic-resistant bacteria” (222). In other words, file-sharing MRSA. Which is the same idea as yesterday, namely that, the SECOND you try to crack down on something people don’t think is actually wrong (or even if they do, and simply have a reason for wanting to do whatever thing), you’re just going to send it underground. Suddenly you’ve got a cat-and-mouse game on your hands, and protip, as soon as that happens you’re effed, effed right in the a.

And the more idiotic the laws, the wilder and woolier the underground. Always. In this case, DARKNET SHALL RULE THE NIGHT. Which despite frenzied reports to the contrary is not an actual physical place, like some drippy-ass cave beneath downtown oh let’s say Albuquerque, overrun by pedo-lords and their bitcoin drugrings. I’m sure there are pedos, it’s called the internet. And bitcoins, sure. And why not drugs, in this economy. Used here, in the abstract sense, “Darknet” is more an idea than a thing — it’s a nest of private networks through/in/across which data is shared. The information isn’t indexed on the open Internet, you can’t search for it on Google, and generally you need to know a guy who knows a guy in order to gain access. Basically it’s where people go to get the things they want. Because please, when someone wants something, and if there isn’t an above-board way to get it, it’ll be about fifteen minutes before somebody starts brewing whatever metaphorical moonshine. It’s called the American Dream, asshole.

In conclusion, Whitey McMan can try to restrict whatever behaviors he wants — but if the behaviors are already commonplace, and more importantly, if the assumptions that undergird those behaviors are already normalized (i.e. texting isn’t disrespectful, file sharing isn’t immoral), there really is nothing that can be done. Well, if ol’ Whitey weren’t a complete jagass he’d figure out how to harness whatever emerging energies instead of trying to fight a war he’s already lost. But that’ll never happen, which is one of the major drawbacks of being a belching insaneosaurus. That and the tendency to go extinct, oh well.

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