Freedom or Copyright? - GNU Project - Free Software Foundation (FSF)

Matthias-Christian Ott ott at
Fri Feb 8 20:48:40 UTC 2008

Alex Hudson <home at> wrote:

> On Fri, 2008-02-08 at 20:37 +0100, Matthias-Christian Ott wrote:
> > Alex Hudson <home at> wrote:
> > > That honestly sounds like a very elitist view of "culture". I don't see
> > > why that "culture industry" needs to be fought against, some of the
> > > finest works have come out of commercial ventures.
> > 
> > It's not an elitist view of "culture" - it's the direct opposite. The
> > current "mode of production" of culture is very elitist and there's no
> > diversity. This diversity doesn't only refer to people, but also to
> > content, style etc.
> I'm not saying there's nothing wrong with that mode of production -
> clearly there are many things wrong with it. But I disagree about the
> diversity, and I disagree with needing to "fight" against it. It's like
> complaining about McDonald's, it may not fit your idea of cuisine, but
> it doesn't stop you opening up your own restaurant.

Sure, if you stick to law you can open a restaurant. You could also
compose your own music for example, but if there's a huge industry which
is flooding the market with advertisements and repeating certain songs
over and over again you have no chance, because they are "indoctrinating"
the people and they make them "dependent" by DRM. It may be not
conscious to you, but in reality our consciousness is not static it's
shaped by society and especially by the media.

Or do you think the average Joe will search for "free (as in freedom)
music by artist I don't know who is not advertised and is making
music not because of money jut because he likes to share his music with
others"? People think that music (or a commodity) is worthless if everyone
it's free (as in freedom) or/and gratis. Why? Because they were told so
from the beginning of their lives.
Lots of people just adapt some music because everyone does it.

Just look at the German "Schlager" music: It's music with the same
contents and composition, produced for masses, sold and promoted by
mass media.
(Again my opinion is not elitist, but I don't believe millions of people
 voluntarily and simultaneously decide to buy and listen to one single
 song, because it's so great. Humans are very diverse (that's in fact
 really great), so I can't believe that.)

You could substitute "Schlager" with virtually any other popular genre.

I mean theoretically you can do whatever you want, but reality looks

> Arguably, mankind has never produced as much cultural output as it
> currently does now, and I would wager it's much more diverse than any
> time period previously. 

Quantity is not always quality. Mc Donalds makes millions of Burgers
per day, but it doesn't make them healthy or our nutrition diverse.
Opening other junk food restaurants also doesn't make our nutrition
diverse - it's still junk food.

> > Richard Stallman also outlined a tax based system in his talks. But
> > I don't see a problem in such a gift economy, except that it requires
> > some kind of emancipation, because people have to voluntarily donate and
> > have to give up this trading paradigm of the direct exchange of money
> > and commodity.
> > 
> > Donating money works fine for Free Software projects - so why shouldn't
> > it work for "culture"?
> Again, I have no problem with a gift economy, except for the suggestion
> that it should be "the way" rather than "a way". There are substantial
> problems with gift economies which many academics have written about:
> there's nothing wrong with making money that way, but it's no perfect
> solution.

Do you have some openly accessible academic works that you cite. Maybe
you could sum it up in your own words or so. Because the only thing
that's wrong with such a gift economy with our economical framework is
the consciousness of the people. But as the first artists stop making
art, people will recognise, that it's absolutely necessary to donate.

> Cheers,
> Alex.


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