A successful, smart, dumb person fails to defend the sale of sheet music

There are many examples, every day, of people saying stupid things on the internet. But rarely do you see smart people write long reasoned arguments that they appear to wholeheartedly believe, yet are fundamentally untrue.

Jason Robert Brown has written a great post, and comes across as highly literate, reasonable, fair, etc. I was rooting for him from the start. Sounds like a nice guy.

But it’s long. So … it’s quite far down that you get to the tiny tiny key step in the exchange. This is the point where the author’s whole argument – a beautifully written argument – crumbles to dust:

“And I say to you that just because technology makes doing a bad thing easier doesn’t mean it’s suddenly not a bad thing.”

Funny. They said that of the Printing Press too. This is precisely what technology DOES do: it changes us. It changes society. Nothing is sacrosanct; our definitions of “good” and “bad” fluctuate. Not even the law is static. Ask any senior lawyer – the law is a fluid concept, defined by the society of its day.

There’s a fascinating exercise: to examine a period and place in history simply by looking at the prevailing laws of the day…

IMHO … at his core, Jason is in that group of people that still haven’t come to terms with the unavoidable side-effects of the “copy” button that exists on all digital-data devices. This is a storm that brewed for decades, and burst with music piracy. Everyone *ought* to be aware of it by now, even if in practice a lot of old-guard media and authors seem to be jamming their fingers in their ears and screaming “I CANT HEAR YOU! GO AWAY!”.

How much longer before posts such as his cease to become anything more than “fascinating historical record … of a time now passed”? Not much, I think…

(PS: I’m ignoring the very much NOT smart – and rather offensive – attempts to re-define words such as “theft” in support of a specious argument. I believe the author did that purely accidentally)

One Reply to “A successful, smart, dumb person fails to defend the sale of sheet music”

  1. Well, in my opinion, technology doesn’t “make doing a bad thing easier”, but it creates a “new action”.

    It’s the old story of “piracy == theft”. Well, in theft, 2 things happen:
    1 – Someone gets something.
    2 – Someone loses something.

    In piracy, only one of them happen, so you can “compare” both actions, but it is not a fair comparison.

    So it’s not making something bad easier, is making something new, that looks like something that was bad, but is completly different.

    my 2 cents.

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