Saturday, March 9, 2013

Troubling Doc on Internet piracy surfaces at SXSW 2013

Reel Deal SXSW 2013 review

TPB AKA (The Pirate Bay Away from Keyboard)
director: Simon Klose (Sweden)

Troubling film about the most successful creative work piracy website ( the Pirate Bay) based in Sweden. The US government pressured the Swedish Government to prosecute the stealing of and distribution of copyright work and profiting from it.. What is troubling is the the film makes heroes of the three founders and sees them as bravely fighting to keep the Internet free from government control by censorship and protection of copyright The downloading of creative work owned by an artist is quite different I believe from downloading a diplomatic cable, a corporations cover up game plan or posting a video that shows a government or an agency or corporation or an individual is lying or breaking the law. Not one frame that I can remember dealth with the ethical question of if you you think you have the right to download without compensating the creative work of anyone be they a Hollywood studio or an individual poet or indie rock musician, how is the creator to be economically compensated for their creative labor?

TPB AFK is well crafted and structured with the rhythm of an action film shot by a smart slacker complete with a sound track that would also work for a classy horror film.

TBK AKF is a necessary, must-see film to understand how non-creative people (computer geeks are essentially scientific technicians. Science geeks even when gifted with genius are not, in my view, artists.) feel they can profit ( usually by sex industry adverts) from the "free" distribution of an artist's creative work be it film, writing or music or visual art without the artist's permission because their tech skills create a pathway. The conflating of what many artist call “thief” with freedom of expression and unregulated Internet is the the core and nexis of the ethical problem. I fear what will ultimately happen is the diminishing of artistic authenticity and originality because of the lack of economic protection and incentive and the devaluing of artistic and creative labor.

This kind of disconnect will fundamentally diminished both the incentive to create and the quality of creative work if the common ethic is it is OK to "steal" or upload anything on the Internet without respect for copyright. There is no discussion of revamping of copyright a la Creative Commons in the film except for a one sentence throw away line.

What is documented in TPB AFK is how the arrogant academic driven definition of free is practiced in real time, not theory, by 21st century creative work thieves.

In the post screening Q&A (attached) the director lays out why he spent 5 years following this story. When asked how were artists to survive, the best he could say was; " I don't know. A new distribution steam needs to be developed that answers that question, " He did say from day one he has made his film available for free on the Internet (YouTube etc) . His producer who paid for the work and the theatrical distributor both present in the audience did not participate in the Q&;A .                                             
                                        (cc) jim fouratt March 9, 2013

1 comment:

  1. Copyright and aggressive copyright enforcement are not prerequisites to being compensated for your work. Many musicians and authors put out their work on the Creative Commons License which allows for the open, free and legal distribution of creative works. ...and i mean PROFESSIONAL musicians, writers and software designers. All of Cory Doctorow's novels can be purchased as hardcover or downloaded freely.

    I feel that the RIAA's model of copyright which in actuality benefits the movie and record labels far more than the actual content creators is a failed business model that can only be upheld by state violence.

    I use free sofware - free as in free to copy and distribute, modify, redistribute because i feel it is unconscienable to use the state to prosecute people for sharing software. If you look on you will find free software i have written. Look on my website - you will find some there. I am not a freeloader when it comes to software - i happily contribute OF MY OWN FREE WILL to free software producers not because the Business Software Alliance will come after me. Free software is a good business to be in. People pay for expertise and training.