Public Knowledge, for all its claims to be looking out for the future, appears in its rhetoric to be stuck in the 80s.
An oddly gratuitous swipe at the movie industry this week about studios “coming to recognize that technology is not your enemy” left me asking, simply: Seriously?
The notion that the creative world is somehow afraid of, opposed to or otherwise unable to co-exist with a 21st Century technology world is about as up-to-date as the Betamax recorder.
In fact, the motion picture studios and other members of the creative community are licensing new technology models daily and have embraced an evolving technological landscape to create legal and innovative products and markets.
In the last few weeks alone, we’ve noted several examples of creative uses of technology in the filmed entertainment world. See, for example, Warner Brothers’ new direct-to-iPad blockbusters, classics now on Hulu, and soon-to-debut multi-platform viewing.
In many respects, one could argue that studios are themselves becoming technology companies – considering the armies of computer generated imagery (CGI) artists, 3D camera developers, gaming divisions and teams who translate every frame of every motion picture into literally hundreds of digitized versions for distribution and download on platforms ranging from streaming services to mobile phones.
To say nothing of the myriad other creative industries who license and use technology to distribute copyrighted works, including recorded music, books, news media – even sheet music publishing.
The comment is symbolic of an outdated and increasingly panicked view of what’s actually happening.
As the MPAA recently noted, some so-called “consumer advocate groups” are becoming little more than professional apologists for online theft.
“Such groups seem to reflexively label every step taken by copyright owners against online theft as a mortal threat to the Internet; continually predict dire outcomes if the arguments of copyright owners and creators prevail; support enforcement strategies in the abstract, only to attack them as soon as they are deployed; stoutly defend technologies that are widely used to steal copyrighted materials, while attacking technologies that could be used to defend copyright; predictably oppose virtually all proposals for better or more efficient copyright law enforcement; and sometimes even encourage intermediaries to follow a path of ‘plausible deniability,’ instead of constructive cooperation, about online copyright theft.”
A meaningful and relevant discussion must be rooted in present-day realities, not decades-old rhetoric.