In every conversation I have with Generation L about the effects of technology on the music industry, it is only a matter of time until the world “innovation” comes up. “Innovation” must be protected at all costs, including at the cost of the entire creative community. Hundreds of thousands of jobs lost? That’s the cost of innovation. Billions of dollars lost? The industry should have innovated more quickly. Thousands of families disrupted? They were fat cats anyway. $1.65 billion for YouTube?Ahem. $1.65 billion for YouTube????
Er, um…that’s the value of innovation.
So I get it, now. Innovation means something that is great for me but not for thee. It is free for me, but not for thee. So as long as I can steal from you, dont’ get caught and you can’t stop me–I am good and I don’t really care what happens to you because you’re not in my mob.
(But we should add the important caveat–as long as the government sits on its hands. Remember, if anyone had told you that Martha Stewart would be doing time in a federal pen a year before it happened, you would have thought it madness.)
I then watch otherwise intelligent people try to reason their way out of the corner they’ve painted themselves into and the answer usually comes out as something like–Google is bigger than the entire creative community, so Google wins. That’s certainly Lessig’s take.This is the essential underpinning of the ethics and logic of Generation L—bigger is better and the wisdom of mobs prevails. Not just because the mob is larger in numbers, but because the decision of the mob can be divined as “wisdom” and its “wisdom” is in fact correct. About everything, in all cases.
Not might makes right, but might is right.
So when the mob decides to take away copyright, it’s not only the case that they can do it because they are huge in number and their anonymity is—interestingly—defended by the Electronic Frontier Foundation, the hardware manufacturers and others in the anti-copyright crowd whose funding is harder to determine.
It’s also the case that the mob–call them Lessig’s mob–in fact believes they are morally right to do so, that the ability of the mob to rise up and violate property laws en masse is not only defendable but is in fact transcendently correct.
Lester Lawrence Lessig III and his ilk step forward to give these mobs what pass for excuses to steal, all of which sound like “she fell into a door” to those on the receiving end of this mob rule in the creative community.
So one of the fundamental attributes of Generation L is that they believe in the power of mobs. We will have more posts on the attributes of Generation L from time to time.