I am part of a generation which experienced true cultural freedom - and which experienced that freedom being destroyed.
We had access to the largest public library which ever existed and saw it burned down for lust for control.
I saw the Napster burn, I saw Gnutella burn, I saw edonkey burn, I saw Torrentsites burn, I saw one-click-hosters burn and now I see Youtube burn with blocked and deleted videos - even those from the artists themselves.
Not even for greed or gain, because enough studies showed that we did no damage and that we actually paid more for cultural goods than those who did not enjoy that freedom.1 They fought for control over us.
And the loss of cultural freedom is only the precursor for the loss of personal freedom, as many new censorship laws show.
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Burning down filesharing services has nothing to do with earning more money. In 2007 the limited data available to social scientists was still too sparse to allow distinguishing the effect of filesharing from zero, as published in the Journal of Political Economy (german article). In 2012 a study from the Music Industry showed that users of filesharing networks pay 50% more for media (german article) than those who do not use filesharing (and killing Megaupload reduced the sales!). So if this were about money, the media would cheer for filesharing networks and simply do media campaigns which say “If you enjoy music, pay the artists, so they can create more of the works you love!”. The real reason why they fight filesharing is that the internet breaks the dominance of the ruling class over information (german article) and allows artists and fans to come together without paying bridge toll (the final german article I reference here ☺). Killing our most efficient ways to share culture has nothing to do with financing artists, but everything with regaining control of the information channels. Filesharing networks are an uncontrolled distribution and communication channel. And those who want control over us will not stop just because we show them that their actions harm artists. The only way to stop them is to make it so expensive to control us - in terms of money and in terms of political influence - that pushing their agenda against free communication would put their power in other areas of society at a severe risk. ↩
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