Back in 1999, I did a mail interview with Derek Powazek, who at the time was one of the first bloggers (before it was even called “blog”), and, I daresay, one of the main players behind the blogging r-/evolution. His work with fray and other projects was one of the main inspirations behind things I did at the time, like the little text I wrote about 10 days in France, the summer of 1999. That page is a graphic homage to the stuff that was on fray at the time, albeit not nearly as good. If I remember correctly, Powazek was also one of the founders of blogger, which was probably the earliest good free blogging service. At least it was via PowazekI first heard about it.
Anyway, once again, Powazek enters the fray (ho-ho) with a SXSW commentary, wherein he adresses that pet peeve of mine: semi-corporate entities that does nothing but trying to maintain a company-artist status quo, where the artist is constantly manacled, hampered and used up. Powazek, as an artist-of-sorts, puts it in plain text:
Until we (users, industry groups, lawyers, and politicians) finally make a clear legal and procedural distinction between copying a work for noncommercial creation of new works (like mashups or backups) and wholesale piracy for profit (like duplicating a work for the purpose of resale), we’re just going to keep shouting at each other in conference rooms and newspapers, and real innovation will never get made.
I couldn’t agree more. Piracy for profit is near-accepted, whereas small-time downloaders are hunted down. And god-damn the poor bastard who dare sample without clearance: onto him/her shall the hounds be released. Exchange should be easier, and whatever MPAA & RIAA might say: they are NOT there to protect the rights of the artists; they are there to protect the assets of the industry.