from it’s-tragic-because-it’s-true department

Max Collins, lead singer of Eve 6 wrote a great track for Popula, noting that owning media is now a counter-cultural act of defiance. Specifically, he exposes virtually every major book publisher that is suing the Internet Archive for making it possible to view digital copies of books. It outlines, first, how the major gatekeepers, both in music (the record companies) and in book publishing, have devised a system that clearly misleads the real creators, and how they essentially want to do ensure that all the media you consume is on a rental model where you have to keep paying over and over and over again.

And now they come after book authors, suing the Internet Archive to make sure books become like Spotify music: theirs, not yours or ours, to own. Owning media is now an act of countercultural defiance.

He talks about growing up going to record stores and finding the hidden gems (an experience I remember well too). And while that might sound like nostalgia for “the way things were,” it makes a bigger point. Some elements of the new systems are significantly better than the old ones. The ability of virtually anyone to access almost any type of music or book at any time is truly something worth celebrating. But, it highlights how, when done under the terms of labels and publishers, the models are designed for exploitation, rather than for cultural benefit.

The Internet Archive’s open library works with an ownership and lending model, like a traditional library. This means that the big publishers, who are the capitalists of the print media platform, want to see it destroyed. They don’t want you to be able to pull eBooks out of a library. They don’t even want you to own e-books. They want to move you to subscription services like Spotify, Netflix, or Amazon Prime, so they can count on your monthly tithes to CEOs and stockholders coming…forever.

I’m not sure I agree with the whole framing of “platform capitalism”, but the underlying point is solid. To some extent, some of his complaints have been around for many decades (centuries?). He notes that “we put art back entirely in the pursuit of profit…” but that’s actually been true for a long, long time, and it’s not really new in the age of Spotify, Netflix and Amazon. .

But what changes is that there is were alternatives in the past and ways around this system, and that included things like the library. But it’s anathema to companies who want to see if they can get more out of users by making media consumption a subscription, rather than something users have some level of control over. And digital libraries, like the Internet Archive, are important in preserving this alternative channel to culture:

The Internet Archive and all other digital libraries and archives must be protected, and people must see this ridiculously unethical lawsuit by major publishers for what it is: an assault on art and truth and its protection. for posterity.

I wish more artists were willing to talk about it. I’ve seen far too many authors support the lawsuit, not realizing that the end result is to put them even more under the control of the big publishers, who are already running them as the only games in town.

Filed Under: digital property, watch 6, lawsuit, max collins, property, subscriptions

Companies: Internet Archive