No doubt that in public debate, opponents are labelled cranks.
But when I said don't be a crank, I was thinking in the context of one on one interactions.
Best summed up in this classic post from Simon Garlick:
I pulled up at a small park in Adelaide’s north-east suburbs to find a group of local residents waiting for Zappia and eyeing the grey clouds warily. A staffer arrived and put up a couple of folding Zappia signs shortly before Zappia himself got there. With the exception of myself the attendees were all white senior citizens. At 37 I was probably the youngest attendee by at least a quarter century, while the oldest would have been the woman who mentioned in conversation that she was 92.
I felt it would be polite to wait my turn so I stood back for a while and allowed the others to begin raising their issues of concern. It was at this point that the event took on a surreal quality. Discussion revolved around the following topics for the first half an hour or so:
Asylum-seekers and immigrants, and what Labor was doing to keep them out. (Subtext: I’M NOT A RACIST BUT KEEP THE DARKIES OUT MATE)
Foreign investment in Australian corporations and what Labor was doing to restrict it. (Subtext: I’M NOT A RACIST BUT KEEP THE ASIANS OUT OF OUR COMPANIES MATE)
Privatisation in general and would Labor promise not to do any more of it. (Subtext: I’M NOT A RACIST BUT IN MY DAY YOU COULD RING UP THE POST OFFICE AND SPEAK TO AN AUSTRALIAN MATE)
Exports of natural resources to China and residential-property sales to foreigners, and what Labor would be doing to curb it. (Subtext: I’M NOT A RACIST BUT THE CHINESE ARE BUYING UP OUR COUNTRY MATE)
The inadequacy of healthcare for senior citizens… ("Whew, a sane line of discussion at last") …and how frustrating it is to be unable to find a doctor who can speak English properly. ("FFFFFFFUUUUUUUUUUU")
Yeah, but then it got weird.
Zappia was asked why Australia was shipping so many millions of tonnes of coal to China when it was self-evident that moving all that mass across the equator would physically destabilise the planet. I mean, just look at all the earthquakes lately. Then Zappia was asked by one elderly gentleman why the Government did not solve “the alcohol problem” (people didn’t get drunk in his day, no sir) by simply banning alcohol. “They had the right idea in America in 1920!” he said.
Think about this for a second: these are the people who turn up to meetings with their local MPs.
Leviathan is biblically a large sea monster, but these days in modern Hebrew, livyatan is... a whale.
I feel there's an angle there.
What do to you, I, we do?
Make an effort to work with MPs while not being a crank, submit to select committees, join and/or help political parties that promise the closest policy to what you want to see, use social media to spread real-world stories of abuses, use whatever juice you have to support the journalists who are keeping this issue alive in the national discourse, try not to cry yourself to sleep at night.
No worries. It's a legitimate complaint and I feel a certain amount of imposter wotsit.
As I suppose one of the colonists and intellectual hustlers, we have common ground on the fear of a timid, conformist future.
Was going to quote the local leader who recently said “Christchurch is essentially a large rural service town” and pooh poohed any effort to be something more, but oddly, The Press have taken the article down.
I once attended a lecture in Germany given by a man who had TWO PhDs, and was a professor. He was introduced as Herr Professor Doktor Doktor Soundso. Nobody but me found this funny.
Disney ripping off old European fairytales
Although that's kind of the point. It wasn't ripping off, to retell them. That's legit reuse from my POV. The rip-off is creating a private good out of them that NEVER reverts to the public.
I certainly don’t know much about the extent of copyright.
It’s already really, really long – much longer than it was when it was first invented. If your Mum died tomorrow, which of course we hope she won’t, her work is still protected for another 50 years. 80 years for something to enter public domain is a very long time.
About your Mum’s books being out of print, I get it. But consider the case where the artist has given up the copyright to a publisher who just doesn’t give a shit, or who went bust, or sold it on to another company that no longer regards (books or music or whatever) as its core business.
And in the end, this lobbying isn’t for creators like your Mum. It’s for a few large companies to continue extracting value from portfolios they own for even longer than they currently do. Keeping our terms at the already very long limit of death + 50 years isn’t going to hurt your Mum in the slightest. Those large companies always point to small artists and act all altruistic and cry crocodile tears, but that’s a bullshit front.
I come back to: copyright is an artificial good we've created for public policy reasons. No different to say, fishing quota. It's an impudent demand on the public that we be barred from making new stuff out of old for even longer, with no corresponding public benefit.
I favour the Brazilian approach, where if a copyright work is not available after a certain term, the copyright lapses. In this way a incredible trove of Brazilian popular music from decades ago, where the publishers are defunct or don't care, is slowly becoming available again.
A lot of use of copyright is not by listening or watching, but by making a new work out of them: quoting, sampling, retelling, reframing, whatever.
You can't just say dear owner, here's my money, now I'm going to make a derived work, and then do it. The owner may not let you, or they may demand more than you can afford. Or worse, and this can happen, you can't find the current owner, and you are either stymied or obliged to hope that you won't get sued out of the blue.
This is how long copyright terms retard cultural development.
The original intent of copyright was to provide an incentive for people to create, because creation is a public good. Now, it's grown to the point where it's an impediment to creation. We all know that the real reason terms have grown in the US is so large corporate holders can maintain their monopoly on popular franchises, and we need to understand that while this is good for them it harms the rest of us.