Limewire died this week.
The last foot soldier in the fight against the big bad music industry. An industry that sucks money from artists directly, and apparently doesn’t want that to change. The vicious war on p2p sharing is NOT in the name of the musician. The musicians are getting fleeced by the labels anyhow. Radiohead understands that, so why can’t the government? Instead of fighting the inevitable, we need to look into new revenue streams and create a better system of open possibilities.
As Normative says, infinite and inflexible copywrite laws stifle the new wave of viewer participation and social integration. My adolescence was defined by a stagnant relationship to technological entertainment and viewership. TV was a vegetative distraction that kept me from doing my homework, it was a mind numbing, fantastical, sedating experience. The computer was equally as isolating, before we had the internet I would sit for hours traversing the Oregon Trail until I died of dysentery, or Doodling on Kid Pix. Now, I’m not saying this interaction with entertainment was entirely fruitless – I learned some very valuable lessons about morality from re-runs of “The Facts of Life,” and Oregon Trail taught me a great deal about Manifest Destiny – but while I was interacting with my entertainment consciously, I wasn’t creating – I wasn’t sharing this experience with others.
Then… sometime in the midst of my long four years in high school, the world changed; the internet became personal. Myspace, Facebook, Youtube all introduced me to the idea that I could live and breathe my thoughts and feelings through the wires and cables that lead to the outside world endless possibilities. I could exist outside myself – I could publish, propagate, inspire and learn, all at once, without leaving my chair. And then there were the connections, the mere idea of interacting and sharing with millions of people all over the world with the same interests, passions and ideas, the same need to create, was overwhelming. This was a whole new world of thought.
Contrary wise, many people today seem mourn the death of personal connection. I can honestly say that there are times when I find our culture superficially bound together by the simple tweets and facebook posts that take seconds to send. If we really cared that much about so and so, wouldn’t we call? Wouldn’t we send an email or, God forbid, a letter? I am the girl that collects typewriters and Polaroid cameras because I fear our culture is shifting towards a world of intangible forces. Celluloid film is dead. Coffee table photo albums are an endangered species. And craftsmanship ain’t what it used to be. I strive to live in a world where there is love in everything. In our words, in our work, in our art. And good news, I think we’re on our way.
Easily accessible video and other creative online platforms lead to the equal and fast dissemination of ideas and projects. Good work can be seen and passed along; the people, not the media, has the power to speak up and support what we want and like. We are our own tour guides in the chaotic world of mass culture. We don’t have to prescribe to the constructs of mainstream passive viewership anymore.
And even when our YouTube generation isn’t trying to relay a specific message or goal, we participate to be seen, to be recognized and appreciated for what we have to offer in our multi-national/cultural/intellectual/hyper individualistic society. We seek connection with friends and others like us around the country, around the world.
We all want to be seen, we all want to be loved. It’s human nature that thrives on connection, and in a world perpetually divided by isolationist technologies, we must make our media connect; we must fight the impulse to separate and embrace the possibilities of a shared technological culture.