May 19, 2009

Books To Borrow, But Not Own [3:31 pm]

Taking Sides in the Revolution - Greg Kot’s ‘Ripped’ and Mark Helprin’s ‘Digital Barbarism’ (pdf)

Such questions are being increasingly asked, as old and new media clash in cyberspace, and issues of copyright have become the subject of hotly contested debates. Two new books offer very different partisan takes on these arguments. In “Ripped” Greg Kot — a music critic at The Chicago Tribune since 1990 — contends that peer-to-peer file sharing and CD burning has empowered music consumers, while providing musicians with more “opportunities to be heard”: “In this world, the fringe players could more easily find and build a dedicated audience, and a musical ecosystem encompassing thousands of microcultures began to emerge.” In “Digital Barbarism” the novelist and sometimes political writer Mark Helprin argues that “copyright is important because it is one of the guarantors of the rights of authorship, and the rights of authorship are important because without them the individual voice would be subsumed in an indistinguishable and instantly malleable mass.”

The problem with both books is that the authors fail to come to terms with arguments that run counter to their own opinions. [...]

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