Introduction to Popular Culture Studies

Web 2.0 Chapter 1 Part 1

Posted by jasendavis on February 8, 2017

I believe there is a happy medium between the theft and labor being described in the first reading from chapter one. To argue that the illegal distribution of media owned by a million-dollar corporation isn’t a crime (by minimalizing the effect that one’s sharing may have on the company) is unfair. Committing murder will always be a crime, even if it is committed on a person whom the perpetrator has decided contributes very little importance in this world. However, there are times when these companies can get vastly out of hand with their retribution. For example, Lionsgate, a company that distributes movies and television shows, sued over 23,000 people (the largest defendant count of any anti-piracy suit of all time) for illegally downloading “The Expendables”. To me, that is ridiculous. A few hundred would have been sufficient; there is no point to be made past that. I like to watch Sly crack heads as much as the next guy, but damn.

It is important for both consumers and producers to be educated about this phenomena. Producers need to be aware of when the spread of information is beneficial (free publicity, maybe the forwarding of an ad) and when it is detrimental (the proliferator of the media is profiting from the producer’s work). I am completely in favor of someone reaping the complete benefits of their own brainchild, but at what point does their pedantic monitoring of their media become too much?

As for consumers, they need to be smarter about the ways in which they share media. As the book stated in the introduction, “if someone else profits, it is wrong.” If the consumer him/herself is profiting, well, clearly he/she is in the wrong. People must also realize that it is immoral to consume a media which profits someone other than the rightful owner.


4 Responses to “Web 2.0 Chapter 1 Part 1”

  1. Sean Hull said

    Unlike murder, or even physical theft of goods, media piracy is complicated by the fact that you’re not depriving the IP holder of any physical assets, you’re just copying data. Though there is still the fact that piracy can hurt the bottom line of IP holders, because this crime doesn’t affect the supply of the item being pirated, I’d be hesitant to draw comparisons to other, more traditional types of crime.

    • jasendavis said

      The point, Sean, wasn’t to draw parallels between piracy and murder. My objective was to demonstrate how silly it is to try to rationalize the breaking of a law. I am not trying to compare the deviance levels of the two actions. Instead, I only look to illustrate illustrate how unavailing it is to argue that a criminal act, as defined by a law, is any less criminal.

      • Sean Hull said

        Oh, so this is where I see notifications, apologies for the late response.

        It seems a tautology that criminal acts are criminal, so of course I would not argue against that as it is inevitably true. However, this sorely lacks nuance, and though you may have only intended to make a general point I cannot help but be inclined to bring up these nuances when I see murder, an act both legally and morally wrong, compared with a far murkier issue. I do not intend to dispute the law’s definition of criminality.

  2. emilyfalicaa said

    I agree that Lionsgate suing so many people is rather ridiculous. They have a history of suing people over every little thing they possibly can. But at the same time, I don’t think choosing just a few hundred to sue is the right way to approach it. It should be sue all or none. Otherwise, how do you draw that line of piracy being a crime or not? Sure, it’s just copying data and hypothetically harmless. But once you start cherry picking who you sue when someone copies your data, you’ll hit bigger issues. So I would argue that maybe Lionsgate is in the right because they are choosing one of the all of nothing methods instead of suing depending on the person and circumstance.

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