Michael Goldhaber on 6 Oct 2000 02:12:15 -0000

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[Nettime-bold] Napster, intellectual property and the attention economy

Nettimers might be interested in my article on Napster, intellectual
property and the attention economy, which is availble in english in
tlepolis at this url..


here is the opening- -

by Michael H. Goldhaber
September 19, 2000

When a French mob  a few thousand strong stormed the Bastille in 1789,
it was the start of a revolution that swept away the ancien regime of
nobles and king, marking the death knell for feudalism. In 2000, with
Napster and its ilk, Internet users more than twenty million strong are
storming another bastion of what is now the old regime. All they are
doing is exchanging music that can be found in one another’s
collections. But by that they threaten to undermine corporate control by
means of intellectual property laws. Soon perhaps, the once mighty
record companies will lie in ruins, no longer able to restrict what may
be listened to, no longer able to determine musical tastes. And the
revolution may soon spread much further than that, for intellectual
property is the glue that holds together the now suddenly antiquated
corporate order.

 As in the French Revolution, today’s stripping away of power, however
it ends up happening, is all but inevitable, even—you could
say—necessary. Who will benefit the most is a different question. In the
aftermath of 1789, it wasn’t the masses themselves who came out on top,
in a democracy of equals; instead it was the bourgeoisie, the merchants
and factory owners— the employer class. Today the winners in the Napster
wars may turn out to be less the fans themselves than the stars whose
sounds they are rushing to hear.....

for the rest, go to


Michael H. Goldhaber

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