Simba looking back

Intellectual Property is Garbage

Intellectual Property is Made Up

Intellectual Property is not a thing that has always existed. It was invented some decades ago because technology has made it possible to easily and quickly replicate art, stories, inventions and other creative products.

Scenario 1:

An artist creates a visual work of art, such as a painting or drawing. Naturally the artist wants to share their creation because it is fun to be recognized for our achievements. When the artist shows the picture to me there is now a version of the picture stored in my memory.

The artist owns the paper and the ink or paint used to create the work, but the artist does not own my brain or my memory. The visual recreation of their art is physically stored in my brain, which belongs to me.

Scenario 2:

A video or song is played on Youtube. The artists who created those works own the tools used to create the original work, such as musical instruments, or video cameras. After their work is digitized, those instruments are no longer being used to create their work. Their work is being digitally stored as a series of instructions which instructs my computer on how to recreate the original work.

The artist does not own my computer. They don’t own my screen, or my hard disk used to store the data. And they still don’t own my ears, eyes, or memory. After their work is recorded and uploaded, they don’t own ANY of it. The only thing you could legitimate argue they own is the original creation of the work, which is not the same as the re-creation.

Artists need to get paid

It is clear from these examples that “intellectual property” is garbage. It’s important to understand that fact, in order to keep a firm grip on the reality of our lives. That said, people have to get paid for their work. Because of the structure of our entirely made up society, we have to pay for shelter and food and entertainment to keep ourselves sane in the face of existential horror.

We should continue paying artists. If they aren’t stealing from you and you have the means to do so, then pay for their works. But we need to stop corporations from trying to claim ownership of our brains, our computers’ storage devices, and everything else they can get their hands on.

Copyright is Bullshit. Intellectual Property is Bullshit.

The conclusion is simple. When data exists on a computer that you own, you own that data. Data is not a tangible thing, it’s instructions written on a piece of paper, in this case a magnetic or electronic disk, and that paper belongs to you. If I write a poem on your $100 bill, that doesn’t transfer ownership of the $100 bill to me, and the same logic applies to the storage device in your computer or your head.

Copyright is bullshit. Intellectual property is bullshit. Stop treating them as anything more than bullshit. This puts creators in a dangerous place, so make sure they don’t starve and die.

“Algorithmic” timelines & social media, #RIPtwitter

The Slow Crumbling Death of Social Media

Today Twitter drove the final nail into the social media coffin. Twitter was the only wildly popular service which still presented a chronological timeline. Twitter does not make money, and they think the solution is to be more like facebook. Their mistake is that facebook is also not making any money from social media. Facebook makes money from unrelated “premium” content which they tack onto their social media product. Twitter does not offer that, so trying to copy Facebook is a sincerely foolish mistake. Their users have been telling them this for years as they’ve experimented blindly with various techniques to raise money, and they have ignored the wishes of their users, another serious faux pas.

For example I offer my own case. For the past 2 years I have been carefully pruning my tweets to ensure that what is left behind will be of some value, and representative of my mind and emotions. The chronological presentation of these tweets is critical to this effort. The new algorithm means something I posted 1 year ago might display today as if it were brand new while more recent tweets are lost in the noise. That is not the way I want my “micro-blogs” to be presented. In my case I saw the product that Twitter offered and I did something creative and soulfull with it, and in the flip of a switch Twitter has taken a giant shit all over my effort to embrace their product.

It is exactly the same as if you walked into a museum of art and decided to remove body parts from a statue and replace them in different spots because “trending data suggests people want to see arms where ears should be.” It’s thoughtless, short-sighted, and displays more disrespect for their own product than anything else. Their decision shows they have no faith in their service. If Twitter’s own executive board has no faith in their product then why should anyone else?

The people who run these social media “giants” are suit and tie business men who do not understand the culture of the internet, they don’t understand how it began or how it grew to where it is today, and they do not understand how their products fit into that culture. They don’t understand how people use their products and worse they’ve turned blind and deaf to user feedback. As corporate leaders, these people are the definition of failures. The continued crumbling of the social media “blogosphere” is proof.

All is not lost. It is increasingly simple to set up a personal blog site using free software, free of the controls of corporations like Facebook and Twitter. Thru the magic of RSS, a technology which predates social media and keeps control in the hands of the users, those corporations can be eliminated from the social media scene completely. The only roadblock has been ignorance to the available tools, but as social media users become more familiar with the internet and the kinds of technologies that it offers besides the World Wide Web, there will be wider adoption of protocols such as RSS. Indeed, that’s why you’re reading this post on tailpuff.net.

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