Archive for October, 2010|Monthly archive page
I read this blurb on Slashdot about Koreans losing their internet access – which in a culture where something ludicrous like 98% of househoulds have broadband access (significantly better broadband than Crapcast offers, at that) – is almost as bad as being sent to prison. Losing their internet access through violating a law that exists because we bullied their government into enforcing our citizens’ copyright protection there.
Of all the countries in that region of the world, I suspect Korea has one of the friendlier attitudes toward the United States. After all, we successfully defended them from Kim Il Sung, Mao, and Stalin. They know about North Korea. Instead of starving, they’re playing celebrity Starcraft tournaments.
Why on earth would we jeopardize public opinion of the United States among Korea’s youth by screwing them over because they downloaded a Watchmen torrent? Of course they violated the law by doing so, but that’s not what they’re going to think when they find their ISP has banned their account without notice. They’re going to think, “Fucking DMCA.” The last thing they’re going to do is rush to the nearest legitimate place of business and buy a fully licensed copy of Watchmen to make absolutely sure that 20th Century Fox or Universal or whichever Fortune 50 movie sgtudio gets their money.
But beyond that, these things that we are apparently so desperate to ensure nobody gets for free are the very tools that ensure America’s global hegemony. Nuclear missiles? They sit in their silos. Unmanned aerial strike drones? They kill a few Afgahnis once in a while. Nuclear submarines? They’re a fine career advancement tool for young naval officers. But they mostly just swim around the ocean doing a whole lot of nothing.
Movies, music, cultural implements in general, you know, the stuff that gets copyrighted – that’s our weapon. Because it’s so much better than the crap that gets produced everywhere else. We export our culture to the rest of the world, and now thanks to the internet we do it even faster and better. When communism finally dies in China it will be thanks to enough young Chinese finding chinks in the great firewall and seeing the world Mao didn’t want them to see. It’s not going to be because America has more nuclear warheads than the communists. It’s going to be because American stuff is cool and thanks to the internet the whole world gets to see it in unparalleled quantity.
Before we bombed Hiroshima in 1945 we dropped pamphlets from the sky into the city below. Those pamphlets warned Hiroshima citizens to evacuate because in a few days their city would be totally and utterly destroyed. Of course most of them ignored the warning and died as a result. If we instead setup kiosks and asked the Japanese to buy our warning pamphlets for a few cents a piece you would say that’s absurd. Sending Koreans to jail for stealing American movies over the internet is equally absurd.
Disseminating our culture across the globe is the best long term strategy for global dominance. For as much as we spend on munitions, the money lost by movie studios from international piracy is a laughably insignificant amount by comparison. Let the Koreans watch our movies.