Clay Shirky on SOPA and David Pogue’s Misconception

You’ve simply got to read this, http://www.shirky.com/weblog/2012/01/pick-up-the-pitchforks-david-pogue-underestimates-hollywood/ .

In short, Clay Shirky explains just how little critical thinking is being done at all levels regarding the true implications of SOPA and how its real effect will be attempted murder on sharing.

I have to say I do agree. Our digital human rights are in jeopardy from many sides. First of all, it seems to me that no legal system has found a way of rectifying the laws that are logical in the finite physical world with the new frontier of a limitless digital expanse.

How can rules that apply to things with specific tangible properties be applied to ether, information, and ideas? It is the question intellectual property laws first tried to answer, right? Wrong. Intellectual Property has always been more about the property than the intellectual. The Internet has forced us to re-evaluate ideas of ownership, creation, and even, gasp, the capitalism that rules our world.

Once upon a time a highly prized trait was an employee’s ability to keep a secret, paving the way for things like cutting out servants tongues. Now that we are ever so enlightened, a prized employee is one with a polished ability to communicate and create trust with clients and others. In this brave new world we have to be able to communicate, read bullshit, navigate complexity, and demonstrate transparency.  Communication is a bit like love, the more you give, the more you have to give. There is an infinite supply of communicability in each of us if we choose to access it. We learn to know what’s rubbish over time and when we get burned, we learn to avoid it, just like our forefathers have been learning for thousands of years. Navigating complexity is a newer one for our race. Not too long ago life and technology were rather simple and working our way around was a matter of taking directions. We’ve now changed everything for ourselves and must look at full webs and understand the implications of tugging on individual strands. We must become better creative and critical thinkers. As for transparency, it is a funnier fish, the value is in providing it in hope of reciprocation or to garner trust and establish relationships.

Our framework for ownership and rewards for ideas is not conducive to any of the goals we have to achieve as people or employees. The traits we look for in ourselves and those we work with are completely at odds with an idea ownership system that is not iterative, adaptable, or pertinent. What the media industry is trying to do with SOPA and PIPA is like defending a cannon with plastic light sabers. They are defending an antiquated weapon, intellectual property laws, with shiny toys. That doesn’t mean those toys can’t take an eye out, or that their production isn’t harming our entire environment. We have to look deeply at all the strings of the web which can get strained by plopping massive nuclear SOPA in a complex network of human interactions.

All I am advising is that regarding SOPA we should navigate the complexity, read the bullshit, demonstrate transparency, and communicate. Interact with those around you, because if SOPA has its way you won’t be doing any of that any time soon. Critical thinking is your only tool.

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One thought on “Clay Shirky on SOPA and David Pogue’s Misconception

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