Media Cartels and the “Intellectual Property” Racket
Image: The “Intellectual Property” racket. You do not own “ideas” or “information,” only the tangible assets used to either record, view, or transmit them. The paradigm these corporate-financier interests are attempting to create and perpetuate is one that inevitably places all under their contrived “intellectual domain” because it is they alone who have the money and power to register and defend them. In the process, they are hindering technological as well as social progress in the defense of their antiquated business models.
What they represent in reality is the antithesis of real business and progress – modern technological reactionaries, staving off advances that threaten their antiquated business models and the immense, unwarranted influence they have accumulated over decades.
The existence of independent movies, music, and of open source software and publications proves that knowledge, entertainment, and everything in between not only can surrive beyond the tired paradigms of copyrights, trademarks, and “intellectual property,” but can thrive.
A new paradigm of giving credit where credit is due, but making all information and the media it is contained within, freely available to all is emerging. Taking a physical CD from another individual is depriving them of a tangible object, and therefore theft. Copying digitally, the information on that CD with the consent of the CDs owner is not theft.
Technology has made it possible to copy information without depriving individuals of tangible, valuable objects. Because this culture of sharing costs those involved nothing, and the more that is shared, the easier it is for all involved to find information they seek, it has understandably spread to all aspects of digitally encoded media. Software,book publishers, movie and music producers all face an industry transforming from simply creating media and selling the medium upon which it is contained.
There is still money to be made with performances, in theaters, and with physical productions others find valuable enough to pay for. However, even in this aspect, the tools for creating movies, music, software, and books are becoming increasingly cheaper and accessible to large numbers of people who would gladly share their work within a culture of sharing.
What these corporate-financier interests are protecting then, is not their “rights” or themselves from “theft,” but their monopoly over an antiquated system that if not protected, will crumble away. Like a consortium of horse-carriage makers lobbying for laws against “new fangled cars,” or libraries around the world uniting to outlaw the Internet and websites like Wikipedia, the reaction of mega-media corporations is one of profound absurdity – one entertained only because of the vast wealth their monopoly has granted them over the decades, and one entertained because still vast numbers of people across society still watch, listen, read, and unfortunately believe everything they say and write.
Below is a list of media cartels and the corporations that constitute their membership, responsible for the absurd “intellectual property” crusade. Each corporation produces products we are all more than capable of living without – and as is the case with many other corporate-financier monopolies, would probably be better off doing without anyway.
Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) Members
National Music Publishers Association (NMPA) Board Members
Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) Members
Independent Film & Television Alliance (IFTA) Member Directory
Entertainment Software Association (ESA) Members
Business Software Alliance (BSA) Members
For every movie, song, or piece of software produced by this collection of monopolistic, corporate parasites, there are equivalent or superior open source, creative commons, public domain alternatives. There are myriads of open, free news, information, and entertainment online created by both amateurs and a growing number of professionals. There is also a large (and increasing) selection of open source software available.
We get the society we pay for. If we continue paying Fortune 500 corporate-financiers who continue to concentrate wealth and power in fewer hands, and continue using that wealth and power to create and guide an agenda that serves only special interests at the cost of the vast majority, we have only ourselves to blame. Boycotting these corporations deprives them of the vast wealth they need to draw from their equally vast legal, lobbying, and legislative resources. And by boycotting these vast corporations, we have money to spend locally, for local artists who go through the trouble of putting on live shows or creating tangible assets we can enjoy.
That human beings are spending months, even years in jail because of “copyright infringement” while mass murderers are allowed to roam America with absolute impunity, is indicative of the immense injustices bred by this very system – highlighting the urgent need to excise and replace it with utmost expediency.