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Google Gets Personal

As a journalist, when you report facts that companies prefer to keep hidden, they usually call you to tell you how you got something wrong. Sometimes, they tell other reporters how you got something wrong. Every once in a while, If they can’t find anything wrong, they resort to personal attacks.

Here’s an example from a Google lobbyist.

Naturally, he was also a fellow at the Berkman Center.

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Discussion

18 thoughts on “Google Gets Personal

  1. What a doushe. That whole lot rides a pretty high horse, with a posterior broom handle for a saddle.

    Posted by James_J | January 5, 2012, 12:12 pm
  2. He’s all over the map.”Life is messy. Progress is messy, too.”? This is typical Google-spin. As long as there is money to be made they call it progress, and everyone else needs get out of their way. No care for how it effects others.

    When he watches Jack Rebney he sees someone who has “been deeply hurt somehow.” Somehow? Mr. Slater needs to read his own words, “From [the] data alone, Rebney’s life has clearly been ruined by piracy.”

    Before Mr. Slater blithely proclaims “Life is messy” he should walk in Mr. Rebney’s shoes.

    And what does this have to do with Free Ride’s point that Google uses its money to influence thinking?

    Posted by TMD | January 5, 2012, 9:06 pm
  3. He’s right. Luddites are often labeled as haters of technology. But really, Luddites were a massive group of textile artisans who revolted against the mechanized loom taking away their careers and their destroying their industry. Which it eventually did. The ability to have all the world’s information at your fingerprints is progress. But progress is messy. With any disruptive technology (and the Internet is the disruptive technology of the century) there is always haves (software engineers, Google, Facebook, etc.) and have nots (MPAA, RIAA, musicians, actors, photographers).

    Copyright maximalists wanted to harm progress to save their own industry. It’s understandable, but ultimately they need to be fought just like the Luddites were fought to submission so many years ago.

    Posted by M | January 6, 2012, 1:37 am
    • I’m afraid your analogy is deeply flawed, my friend. Notice that the Luddities were protesting because their work was being replaced by machines. The textile industry wsn’t being “destroyed” – it exists healthily to this day. What had changed was the kind of labour (and how much of it) was required.

      This has nothing to do with copyright. The situation now is that a certain portion of the tech sector claims that because the technology for replicating/distributing copyrighted works has changed, they no longer have to pay for replicating/distributing copyrighted works. The job of the creator and those who finance and promote her works has not changed one bit. Nor has the need for creative work to continue to be made – in the same way as ever – in order for said tech companies to be able to monetise replication/distribution.

      The businesses who make their money from copyright infringement aren’t replacing the creative industries, they are piggybacking on the work of those industries. YouTube, for instance, doesn’t have a business unless somebody actually does the work of creating video. They certainly would have a much smaller business if the only thing you could find there is home videos uploaded by users for the enjoyment of their families and friends. The tech sector desperately needs the creative industries in order to remain valuable. They are, however, gunning for a situation where somebody else pays for creativity and they just rake in profits from it.

      I do wish the anti-copyright crowd would actually spend five minutes trying to come up with a half-sensible argument.

      Posted by Faza (TCM) | January 6, 2012, 10:34 am
    • As FAZA (TCM) points out, you’re engaging in a version of the standard anti-copyright fallacy which confuses the costs of reproduction with those of production.

      Generally, the argument goes: Since electronic copying and transfer essentially reduces the cost of reproduction to zero (or, at least, a cost so low as to not worth worrying about), content should be free.

      This completely ignores the fact the cost of producing that content is not zero and that the technology which enables file copying and transfer in no way addresses the costs or problems of production.

      Still, invoking the Luddites does highlight your basic anti-labour bias.

      Since you’re bringing up examples from the eighteen hundreds, allow me to point out what Slater describes happening to Jack Rebney (the “Winnebago Man”, who I must admit I had never heard of before) is more than a little reminiscent of the nineteenth century practice of going to mental asylums such as Bedlam to taunt and jeer at the inmates. This was considered an evening’s entertainment.

      Slater doesn’t see anything wrong with that, even offering the rather bizarre excuse that it’s all right because the abusers didn’t make the target that way.

      This makes him come across as a complete sociopath, incapable of any sort of human feeling. While he is careful to point out that he speaks only for himself, not any employer past or present, the fact that Google and the Berkman Center would associate with such an individual does not speak well for them.

      If he wants to argue that “progress is messy”, then perhaps an example of actual progress would be in order, rather than an example of plain old cruelty dressed up in high-tech drag. If all Google, YouTube, etc. are good for is making it easier for abusers to attack their victims, then that’s not a very convincing reason for keeping them around.

      Posted by zbekric | January 7, 2012, 1:06 am
      • “As FAZA (TCM) points out, you’re engaging in a version of the standard anti-copyright fallacy which confuses the costs of reproduction with those of production.”

        If the cost is all in the initial production, why are you putting all the economic incentives on reproduction?

        “This completely ignores the fact the cost of producing that content is not zero and that the technology which enables file copying and transfer in no way addresses the costs or problems of production.”

        Technology has made music much cheaper to produce. Period.

        “Still, invoking the Luddites does highlight your basic anti-labour bias.”

        Thank you for noticing. Damn right a have an anti-labour bias! My industry generally speaking works to replace human labor with machine labor. And I’m proud of what I do! Every single layoff we cause and every industry we help bankrupt is a job well done. You may view this as insensitive (or “sociopathic”), but I am not here to produce a welfare state or care that you want to try to make money using the same business models from the 1800s. I work to advance the condition of humankind as a whole.

        Yup, progress is messy. But I rather have progress then help prop up dinosaur business models.

        Posted by M | January 7, 2012, 9:36 pm
      • If the cost is all in the initial production, why are you putting all the economic incentives on reproduction?

        We’re not. The costs of production are paid for by selling copies of the content produced. If you can’t sell the copies, there’s no money to pay the creators of that content.

        You’re ideology is blinding you to how the actual business model works. And you refuse to discuss any sort of alternate business model.

        Technology has made music much cheaper to produce. Period.

        So composers and musicians need less skill and training than they did in the past? You really don’t know what you’re talking about, do you?

        I work to advance the condition of humankind as a whole.

        You love humankind as a whole, it’s just individual people you can’t stand.

        Thank you for revealing that all that stuff about coming here to “try and find pro-SOPA and generally pro-copyright people, because I wanted to see the arguments of ‘the other side'” was just bullshit. You were trolling.

        Posted by zbekric | January 8, 2012, 7:32 am
    • Oh please. Music isn’t dead. But the game has changed, and piracy is the last of your worries.

      There is a growing amount of content (especially music) that lives outside of the land of “filesharing is theft”. Creative Commons seems to dispute any notion that you must have distribution rights to make music. High budget movies are a different story, but the traditional music industry is dead.

      Music is easier than ever to make. Hell, every Apple computer you buy comes with this program called GarageBand that makes it pretty damn easy to produce compelling music. You don’t even know how to sing anymore thanks to GarageBand’s built in autotune (something that apparently the majors have embraced strongly). So why exactly does this industry need money and artificial scarcity?

      Posted by M | January 7, 2012, 2:04 am
      • >>>Every single layoff we cause and every industry we help bankrupt is a job well done.

        Thank you for being so honest. Whether or not you believe in SOPA, this is the kind of comment that highlights just how sociopathic some technology executives are.

        Posted by roblevine1 | January 8, 2012, 2:03 am
    • Also I like you are overstating how much the tech industry needs the creative industry. The thing about IP (imaginary property?) is that you you can’t take your ball and go home. Example of the opposite, if firefighters decide it is no longer in their best interest to fight fires, the amount of uncontrolled fires may start to rise overnight. But with IP, despite all the rhetoric you want to put out there about how it is property, it’s by it’s nature an abstract uncontrollable thing. So your work will always be out there even if you strike and stop making music. You can’t easily stop the flow of information, even if you are the USSR. Even moreso with the creation of the Internet and computers who are copy-machines by their very nature (look up the MOV x86 instruction, I’ll give you a hint, it doesn’t actually move data).

      So consider that overnight nobody was allowed or could make money from making movies and music:

      (1) There is still literally tens of millions of published music tracks, that won’t magically go away with the music industry. More than enough to occupy the tech industry for years and years to come. The back catalog of music is so vast, I’m not even sure if new music really even needs to be made anymore.

      (2) Creative Commons. I’ve been reading a lot of the pro-copyright websites, and I’ve begun to notice this phrase is almost the new evil amongst. Because quite frankly, Creative Commons flies in the face of any idea that creative need strong copyright to produce new content. Copyright maximalists hate this so much because they have NOTHING on it. Nothing moral, nothing legal. And there is so much Creative Commons music out there it’s crazy. I’m listening to some right now. Even if I had a very fast Internet connection I couldn’t realistically download even a fraction of it.

      Okay so this was all about music, but watching a movie takes a somewhat significant time investment (while music can be listened to at any time, like I am doing). The tech industry kills movies in a different way, by being a different distraction. If I am on Facebook (or Reddit) that’s time I’m not watching a movie. I know personally I don’t watch as many movies (or TV) as a did lets say 10 years ago, and the Internet has a lot to do with that.

      Posted by M | January 7, 2012, 2:27 am
      • “So consider that overnight nobody was allowed or could make money from making movies and music…”

        You must be part of the minority of society that doesn’t enjoy music.
        Let me educate you.
        People don’t want OLD music, they don’t want music from most bedroom warriors either.
        Otherwise, everyones’ iPod would be filled with either public domain music or SoundClick music:
        http://www.soundclick.com

        ^When people start filling their iPods with that^, instead of stuff for sale at iTunes, you may have a point… but until then your argument is bunk.

        Posted by James_J | January 7, 2012, 2:07 pm
      • People want their Lady Gaga, Justin Bieber and Madonna music. You from successful and RICH musicians, they could care less about indie garbage no one even heard of.

        And if you are going to give me gator tears about how Madonna needs her 20th mansion, I’ll just laugh in your face.

        Fact: No name indie musicians were poor before piracy was huge. No name indie musicians are still poor today.
        Fact: Rich and famous musicians were rich before piracy was huge. Rich and famous musicians are still rich today.

        Posted by M | January 7, 2012, 9:42 pm
      • >>>Creative Commons flies in the face of any idea that creative need strong copyright to produce new content. Copyright maximalists hate this so much because they have NOTHING on it. Nothing moral, nothing legal.

        I guess you didn’t read my book. Creative Commons is run by anti-copyright activists connected to Google, including Sergey Brin’s mother-in-law, as vice chair, and its licenses favor technology companies over artists. Also, Creative Commons material isn’t generally very popular. How much would you pay for an iPod that only played CC music? A dollar?

        Posted by roblevine1 | January 8, 2012, 2:09 am
  4. zlozzzzllozozozloolzlzo
    lzozozz
    zlzozlzozozlz

    Posted by stephan | January 6, 2012, 3:06 am
  5. Oh and to add some more, I’m not even sure what the societal value of the mass media is. You haven’t even made the case that what you offer has any value. I’m thinking of what services the music industry provides and in a way when you look into it in detail it is sicking.

    The whole idea of “music fans” seems like some kind of quasi-idol worship. But the thing is Lady Gaga or some other musician is not something worth worshiping. Why do people revere someone who wears a meat outfit and not people who actually advance human kind, like scientists or engineers? Musician worship a useless and possibly dangerous distraction.

    Then we see how mass media (like newspapers and news stations) like to push their political bias. It’s very documented. The world would be freer and more democratic without people getting their news from central and easily corruptible sources. So really, anything that makes them go bankrupt is a good thing.

    Movies too like to push political agenda (except maybe comedy movies, but who knows). It seems every movie has to have some kind of “moral” to it, again a example of powerful people trying to push their breed morals onto the masses. I don’t like it at all.

    If we can kill “professional media”, we’d still have with media, but democratic and amateur media. I find that media that is made outside of the likes of mass media tends to go against the establishment which I am sure is scary as hell to those in the establishment. They can’t control the message and that is the scariest thing of all.

    Posted by M | January 7, 2012, 2:42 am
    • Why do people revere someone who wears a meat outfit and not people who actually advance human kind, like scientists or engineers? Musician worship a useless and possibly dangerous distraction.

      So, when you were younger, the girl (or boy) you really, really liked turned you down and ended up going out with a musician and you’re still bitter about it?

      Posted by zbekric | January 8, 2012, 7:45 am
      • Either that or he doesn’t have a lick of creativity in his bones.. and instead of acknowledging that different people are built to be better at different things, he’d rather ruin all people that he can’t compete with.
        —-
        M wrote: “Fact: No name indie musicians were poor before piracy was huge. No name indie musicians are still poor today.
        Fact: Rich and famous musicians were rich before piracy was huge. Rich and famous musicians are still rich today.

        My God, you really are clueless.
        Indie musicians are the HARDEST HIT. I worry about the future of music and musicians (something you obviously don’t share). And yes, even Gaga and Beiber are hurt.. but they aren’t my prime concern. (you probably wouldn’t know this, you being a Create-o-phobe.. but there is much much more to music than the pop charts…)
        God doles out talent to different people differently, it’s only you who’d like to make slaves out of an entire class of people.

        Posted by James_J | January 9, 2012, 6:15 pm
  6. M, I am a youth of sixteen and you’re right, amateur content is always better than professional content, that is why me and all my friends have heard a grand total of……………………… 0 public domain songs. I didn’t even know what creative commons was until I read free-ride (my dad got it). I’d say the only people who know of it are zealous linux users (I used to be a zealot, then I got sick of having to fix the crap os all the time).Seriously, if you think someone who makes music part time whilst working at Mc-Donalds is going to be better than a full time artist, I think you need to have a serious think about things. And, even if you create a fantastic work of art, you need advertising, or no one will ever experience this wonderful work.
    And also, about 95% of my friends pirate stuff, they do not do it as a heroic stance for free speech, nor a fight against “THE CORPORATIONS (MAN)”. They do it because it’s FREE. They are capable of paying but they just don’t.

    Posted by Nicholas | September 4, 2012, 12:25 pm

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