Henry Porter has now completely discredited himself, with a shameful piece of luddite nonsense masquerading as a call for justice:
If indeed a new era of global responsibility has come into being with measures that actually restrain banks and isolate tax havens,
See this. The politics of sour grapes is alive and well at the grauniad. Irrational, illogical and destructive, like the rest of the ideas in this misguided, buggy whip cracking article.
it may be time for the planet’s dominant economic powers to focus on the destructive, anti-civic forces of the internet.
The greatest invention of the 21st century, equivalent in importance to the invention of the printing press, characterized as ‘destructive’ and ‘anti-civic’. The greatest force for empowering the little guy, thanks to which the playing field is made forever flatter; this is a ‘bad thing’. A set of devices and protocols that allow you to have a private conversation with anyone, anywhere in the world for free…and all the other myriad things it can do and will do. This is something ‘to be stopped’.
Only a total computer illiterate, luddite, anti-freedom, anti-human imbecile could believe such a thing.
Exactly 20 years after Sir Tim Berners-Lee wrote the blueprint for the world wide web, the internet has become the host to a small number of dangerous WWMs – worldwide monopolies that sweep all before them with exuberant contempt for people’s rights, their property and the past.
The internet and the World Wide Web are two separate things, as this commenter points out:
1) Tim Berners-Lee created the WORLD WIDE WEB, which is a distinctly different thing than the Internet. The World Wide Web is a layer on top of the internet that provides the websites that we see, but the largest portion of the internet is not visible, and does not interact with home computers. The internet is hardware, software, protocols, servers, undersea cables, standards, repeaters, satellites and so forth, all operating on the same protocols (IP, Internet Protocol). Tim Berners-Lee certainly created a revolution with the World Wide Web, but the creation of the Internet is an even grander achievement, which took decades, cost billions, and was mostly the responsibility of three groups: AT&T, Cisco Systems, and The United States Department of Defense.
In the strictest sense, the internet was born in 1971, just under 20 years before Sir Berner-Lee’s breakthrough, when many of the standards and theories that became Internet Protocol were developed.
2) Google is at the very center of the information-economy, and to say it produces nothing is ridiculous. They’re purpose is to effectively organize, catalog and make searchable the sum of the information of mankind. Everything they have constructed has been purposed about this goal, from their basic search engines to Google Earth.
One day we will live in a world where everything that is quantifiable knowledge will be contained and indexed by Google. And it will be a good day for mankind, because all that information will be equally available, so long as you speak the English language.
What Google does, to put it stiffly, is vastly more important than some novelist exploring how much the human condition absolutely sucks.
Thanks to the commenter called ‘Netwrk’.
Google is the most prominent WWM,
Is that something like WMD (Weapon of Mass Destruction) I wonder? Hmmmmmmm…. Guilt by acronym association!
but let’s start with an American site that is making a name for itself in straightforward misappropriation. Scribd.com offers free downloads of every kind of book, magazine, brochure, guide, research paper and pamphlet to 55 million readers every month. Many have been uploaded illegally. Last week the publishers of JK Rowling, Ken Follett and Aravind Adiga took action to remove books that had been illegally published on the site.
First of all, Scribd is a wonderful service. It is being used by the computer literate to disseminate knowledge. Only the completely ignorant, imagination-less luddites are against it.
Mr. Porter, you are on the wrong side of history. You need, as a matter of priority, to read ‘<a href="http://www.amazon.com/Against-Intellectual-Monopoly-Michele-Boldrin/dp/0521879280" title="Amazon.com: Against Intellectual Monopoly: Michele Boldrin, David K. Levine: Books”>Against Intellectual Monopoly‘. The arguments you put forward against ‘piracy’ are from an imaginary world before the internet (like buggy whip salesmen before the motorcar). The ‘community’ you speak of would be much better off living in a world without patents and copyrights, and that book proves it. The new services like Scribd, are clearly more beneficial than harmful, even with the present copyright regime in place. No matter how loud you shout, and complain, copyright, like alcohol prohibition is dead, and we are all better off for it.
To add injury to insult, your type of ‘thinking’ is disrupting the flow of materials that are out of copyright. My own Scribd account was the subject of an attack from your lobby this last week.
From Jason Bentley, on 2009-04-03:
We have removed your document “An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations” because our text matching system determined that it was very similar to a work that has been marked as copyrighted and not permitted on Scribd.
Like all automated matching systems, our system is not perfect and occasionally makes mistakes. If you believe that your document is not infringing, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will investigate the matter.
Directory of Community Development
People like you might believe that all works should be copyrighted forever no matter how old they are. The fact of the matter is that copyrights were originally tolerated in the belief that they served society, and rewarded the creators of content whilst promoting innovation and creativity. This is why the term of protection was short, so that the works would pass into the public domain, where they could spread and be of benefit to the public after the creators had reaped the benefit of protection via a state sanctioned monopoly over their ideas and how they could be used and copied.
The work in question above is by Adam Smith, published in 1776:
An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations is the magnum opus of the Scottish economist Adam Smith. It is a clearly written account of economics at the dawn of the Industrial Revolution, as well as a rhetorical piece written for the generally educated individual of the 18th century – advocating a free market economy as more productive and more beneficial to society.
The work is credited as a watershed in history and economics due to its comprehensive, largely accurate characterization of economic mechanisms that survive in modern economics; and also for its effective use of rhetorical technique, including structuring the work to contrast real world examples of free and fettered markets.
In case you are unfamiliar with it.
Please restore this deleted document. It is in the public domain:
It would be an interesting project for Scribd to add the entire contents of the Project Guttenberg texts to your checking system, so that you can exclude documents like this from being flagged.
Jason Bentley, Apr 04 10:33 pm:
I’m sorry that our automated copyright protection system misidentified your document as infringing. We try very hard to protect the rights of authors, and sometimes our copyright robot get a little oversensitive.
I’ve restored your document and removed all references from your account.
Community Director and Copyright Agent
This is the sort of world Henry Porter wants; a world where everything is unavailable because of the incredibly small number of giant publishers and their prostitute luddite lackeys whining that the old days are over. At the very least, Porter is calling for a web where everything must be screened by copyright police before it is posted. This is the same voice that wants ‘civil liberties’; a voice that is calling for a fascist regime to enforce the insanity of copyright transposed to the web.
Scribd.com complied, but what is interesting is the company’s institutional lack of guilt when the piracy was exposed.
‘Piracy’ (as it is defined today) only takes place when someone sells a book or movie; a ‘movie pirate’ is someone who copies movies onto DVDs and then sells them instead of buying discs from the manufacturer and re-selling them. People who copy movies are not ‘Pirates’, what they do is not ‘piracy’ and in fact the act of copying music, books and movies is beneficial to society even if they sell copies. Furthermore, the people who make movies, music and who write books are able to make a living without copyright laws (state enforced monopolies) in place. This might come as a shock to people like Henry Porter, who writes in the bosom of a nest of copyright brainwashed computer illiterate vipers, but it is a fact nonetheless. Against Intellectual Monopoly has some illuminating examples of why (in this case patents) are a bad thing:
In most histories, James Watt is a heroic inventor,responsible for the beginning of the industrial revolution. The facts above suggest a different interpretation. Watt is a clever inventor who, after getting one step ahead of the pack, remains ahead not by superior innovation, but by clever exploitation of the legal system. The fact that his business partner is a wealthy man with strong connections in Parliament, is not a minor help.
The evidence suggests that Watt’s efforts to use the legal system to inhibit competition set back the industrial revolution by a decade or two. The granting of the 1769 and, especially, of the 1775 patents likely delayed the mass adoption of the steam engine:innovation is stifled until his patents expire; and very few steam engines are built during the period of Watt’s legal monopoly. From the number of innovations that occur immediately after the expiration of the patent, it appears that Watt’s competitors simply waited until then before releasing their own innovations in an effort to avoid the fate of Hornblower. Also, we see that Watt’s inventive skills are badly allocated: we find him spending as much time engaging in legal action in an effort to establish and preserve a monopoly as he does in actual invention.
Indeed, this story contains most of the important elements of our argument Against Intellectual Monopoly. The sort of wasteful effort to suppress competition and obtain special privileges we have seen in Watt is one of the greatest dangers of monopoly. It is commonly referred to as rent-seeking behavior. Watt’s attempt to extend the duration of his 1769 patent is an especially egregious example of rent seeking: the patent extension is clearly unnecessary to provide incentive for the original invention, which had already taken place. On top of this, we see Watt using patents as a tool to suppress innovation by his competitors, such as Hornblower, Wasborough and others. Finally,there is the slow rate at which the steam engine was adopted be for the expiration of Watt’s patent. By keeping prices high and preventing other from producing cheaper steam engines, Boulton and Watt hampered capital accumulation and slowed economic growth. Intellectual property, as it is currently conceived, has other damaging social effects but the three listed here and exemplified in Watt’s story are the most serious ones: rent-seeking, innovation suppression, and slow-down in the process of economic growth. We shall see that Watt’s experience is the rule, not the exception.
Anyone with even one brain cell can see the parallels between this story and the others in Against Intellectual Monopoly in the context of Google, Scribd, the services that run on the Bittorrent ecosystem and the other services today. The world, ‘the community’ that Porter is so eager to protect and serve would have been far better served if Watt had not been able to use government force to stop other inventors from improving the steam engine. As soon as Watt’s government granted monopoly ended, the efficiency and power of steam engines increased at a rate far greater than when Watt was able to stifle innovation with his patent, and what’s more, when his patent expired, Watt’s profits continued undiminished.
This is a very important lesson for everyone involved in any sort of creativity. We at Irdial knew instinctively that releasing our catalogue for free would benefit us more than keeping it locked up. That is why we freed our works for non commercial use in 1999. If we lived in a society where there were no copyrights at all we would gladly give up the commercial use rights in an instant.
Instead of fighting the reality, resisting the new tools and clinging on to broken models, it made sense to us to embrace it all and use it to get our works in as many places as possible. To us, it’s obvious. To people like Henry Porter, the future and its wondrous tools are a threat to be destroyed, and he doesn’t care about all the historical works that are burned in his insane quest to cleanse the internet of copyrighted works. We see the direct result of people like him in the erasure of Adam Smith’s work from Scribd.
Instead of admitting it and apologising, it issued a statement claiming Scribd possessed “industry-leading copyright management system which goes above and beyond requirements of Digital Millennium Copyright Act”.
So, Scribd should now apologize for innovating, for bringing millions of documents to millions of people, for nothing. They should apologize for having to invent a piece of filtering software thanks to lobbyist bought government pressure, which might never work accurately and which diverts time away from the software developers improving Scribd, and which diverts capital away from improving Scribd. This is totally insane, and exactly what is described in Against Intellectual Monopoly. Thanks to the luddites like Henry Porter and his distant cousin Watt, innovation is being retarded, as companies divert resources to satisfy monopolists.
That’s like a drunk driver protesting innocence because he’s covered by the best insurance company. What matters is the crime, the theft of someone else’s content, which has taken care, labour, money and expertise to publish.
This is wrong. What you are doing is protesting that the internet should not exist so that you can continue to collect a rent on your works at the expense of the entire world’s population and at the expense of the progress of mankind itself.
What matters here is that copying books is in no way ‘a crime’, is beneficial to society, and in no way detracts from an authors ability to make money on the works that they have taken care, labour money and expertise to create. I have no doubt that some non-BLOGDIAL readers will not believe that this is even possible. Not only is it possible, but we have made money from giving our works away for free, and Against Intellectual Monopoly has examples in it where works that are not copyrighted have made millions for publishers; look at the case of the title The Final Report of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States where the publisher (Norton) printed this rather large book at a huge profit, despite there being no copyright on the text and it being downloaded world-wide by millions of people:
[…] To be clear: what Norton received from the government was the right to publish first, and the right to use the word “authorized” in the title. What they did not get was the usual copyright – the right to exclusively publish the book. Because it is a U.S. government document, the moment it was released, other individuals, and more important, publishing houses, had the right to buy or download copies and to make and resell additional copies– electronically or in print, at a price of their choosing
Assuming that St. Martin’s has some idea of how to price a book to avoid losing money, this suggests Norton made at the very least on the order of a million dollars. We also know that their contract with the government called upon them to donate their “profits” to charity – and we know that they did in fact “donate $600,000 to support the study of emergency preparedness and terrorism prevention.”
The point is that even if Scribd removes books, it still allows individuals to advertise services for delivering pirated books by email, which must make it the enemy of every writer and publisher in the world. In effect it has turned copyright law on its head: instead of asking publishers for permission, it requires them to object if and when they become aware of a breach.
Advertising a service is everyone’s right. The right to publish (or ‘freedom of the press’) is not ‘the right of newspapers and journalists to write what they like without restriction’. In this case, ‘The Press’ means not ‘the press corps’ but THE PRINTING PRESS as in a device to disseminate writing to a large audience. Journalists always make this mistake; they go berserk when their newspapers face censorship, but when its Bloggers or individuals who claim their right to print and distribute whatever they like, then it’s another story. Shameful.
Scribd is the friend of every writer and publisher in the world, wether they know it or not. Copyright law needs to be abolished, not just turned on its head, and the internet has made this progress begin to happen. If it does not take place before hand, the deaths of the luddites like Henry Porter and his employers and their replacement by ‘The Pirate Generation’ will spell the end of copyright, and the removal of all related legislation from the statute books. As it is, if these laws remain on the books, hundreds of millions of people will be and are being criminalized at the behest of luddites, lobbyists and the corporations they serve…people like Henry Porter.
Google presents a far greater threat to the livelihood of individuals and the future of commercial institutions important to the community.
This is so absurd I actually LOL’d. Google makes it easy to find authors; easier than it has ever been before. It makes all sorts of research easier by orders of magnitude; every link on this page was found for me by Google. Henry Porter wants a world where this, the greatest research tool ever invented is deliberately broken, just like Scribd is being broken. This is the ‘benefit’ he wants to bring to ‘the community’, and it is laughable that he thinks that ‘commercial institutions’ work for the benefit of ‘the community’… only when they work for HIS benefit… which community PRECISELY is he talking about? I think it’s the community of published authors and publishing houses; the intellectual monopolists, who want to strangle innovation and hold humanity back.
One case emerged last week when a letter from Billy Bragg, Robin Gibb and other songwriters was published in the Times explaining that Google was playing very rough with those who appeared on its subsidiary, YouTube. When the Performing Rights Society demanded more money for music videos streamed from the website, Google reacted by refusing to pay the requested 0.22p per play and took down the videos of the artists concerned.
This is called ‘rent seeking‘; the artists concerned, Socialist Billy Bragg and his strange bedfellow, falsetto Robin Gibb, intellectual monopolists both, threatened Google that if they did not pay the rent for videos on YouTube they would face action. Google removes the videos, the infringement, and then is accused of ‘playing very rough’. Do they want their material infringed or do they not? They complained, and their wishes were acceded to; why are they complaining? The fact of the matter is that they want to collect rent. They would like their music to be posted and hosted on YouTube without them having to lift a finger, but they want the rent also. 22p per play is absolutely ridiculous, and if every rent seeker asked for and recieved this money, there would be no YouTube. YouTube is turning out to be one of the most potent political tools available from, the UK to Saudi Arabia. Henry Porter wants it killed so that his (completely irrational) rent seeking socialist friends can make money they do not deserve.
Socialists really are ridiculous creatures; they claim that they are for the masses being empowered, but when something comes along that gives them more power than anyone has ever had EVER, they are AGAINST IT, and want to DESTROY it. The fact is that Socialists are not for anyone other than themselves; they want to be the bosses, the controllers with absolute power. Billy Bragg is a perfect example of this. A luddite that would smash the internet so he can collect rent. Robin Gibb is at least consistent; he is a rich man who doesn’t want the party to end – at least he is honest.
It does this with impunity because it is dominant worldwide and knows the songwriters have nowhere else to go. Google is the portal to a massive audience: you comply with its terms or feel the weight of its boot on your windpipe.
This is total garbage. Google can in no way be characterized as putting a boot on anyone’s windpipe…though in the case of Billy Bragg, that would save us from hearing his ‘singing’.
Secondly, songwriters have everywhere else to go. This is because the internet is essentially infinite; they can set up their own site and sell their wares; they have had over a decade to do it, and have failed miserably to meet this new challenge. Instead of buying Napster, they destroyed it. Instead of working with Mininova and The Pirate Bay, they are trying to outlaw them. Even Apples iTunes store, where they were making money, met with fierce resistance from them. The fact of the matter is, these people, Henry Porter, Billy Bragg and the entertainment industry are collectively unintelligent and unimaginative. Were this not the case, they would have seen the opportunity for super-distribution of their works and embraced the internet at the beginning.
Despite the aura of heroic young enterprise that still miraculously attaches to the web, what we are seeing is a much older and toxic capitalist model – the classic monopoly that destroys industries and individual enterprise in its bid for ever greater profits.
That is incorrect; what we are seeing IS heroic young enterprise, being misunderstood and slandered by old rent seeking luddites, who are the REAL monopolists in this story, the Intellectual Monopolists. It is Henry Porter that is trying to destroy industry’s enterprise – new industries – Google, Scribd and all the other content services empower individual enterprise by allowing the creative to circumnavigate the luddite gatekeepers at the Guardian and the major record labels.
Google make profits and the entire world benefits from a tool unprecedented in human history, that no one has to pay for to use, and which helps authors and publishers make more money and reach more people than they ever dreamed possible. Only a total fool would be against it, and given the facts of the history and nature of copyright and patents, only the evil and utterly selfish would try to destroy it.
Despite its diversification, Google is in the final analysis a parasite that creates nothing, merely offering little aggregation, lists and the ordering of information generated by people who have invested their capital, skill and time.
This is covered by the comments on this very bad and revealing article:
2) Google is at the very center of the information-economy, and to say it produces nothing is ridiculous. They’re purpose is to effectively organize, catalog and make searchable the sum of the information of mankind. Everything they have constructed has been purposed about this goal, from their basic search engines to Google Earth.
To say that Google produces nothing is ridiculous. As many people have mentioned the search algorithms they have developed make the internet useful for millions. One might as well dismiss Dr Johnson for compiling a book of other people’s words.
Beyond search they have produced some of the easiest to use and most compelling software available. GMail, Google Maps, Google Docs and Google Calendar have reset expectations for what can be done in internet applications.
They may not be the perfect institution and I love to know if one ever existed. I want to live in a world of Newspapers and Google but if Newspapers don’t survive it won’t be Google’s fault.
“… Google is in the final analysis a parasite that creates nothing, merely offering little aggregation, lists and the ordering of information generated by people who have invested their capital, skill and time”.
This is utter blindness. It’s like arguing that the Ordinance Survey have never done anything useful, because everything on their maps was created by other people, or that Henry Ford added no value because he only shuffled around metals, wood and leather into different shapes.
Google have made searching on a vast scale incredibly easy, and they are the only company who has done so, covering everything from Ethiopian restaurants to the notebooks of Leonardo, at any time, from anywhere. In fact, for absolutely nothing, they provide me with a service worth several times more than any other company does, bar none. If this puts them in a position to earn a lot of money, good on them. If Billy Bragg would still prefer to be back in the workers’ paradise of the GDR, he’s welcome to it.
Closer to home, I note that 95+% of what the Guardian provides overlaps several times over with what is provided by the Daily Telegraph, the Irish Times, the Economist, etc, and that the marginal value of any one of these is minimal. The challenge for newspapers is to make themselves distinctively useful, (e.g. the New Yorker’s employment of Sy Hersh), rather than, like the Guardian, recycling a huge amount of content from the AP in manner that makes it, “in the final analysis, a parasite …”.
What a bitter and twisted load of oldschool, oldfashioned, defensive Fleet-Street-Journalist dinosaurian rubbish this article really is.
Just listen to the decription of the Internet and Google: “amoral”, “destructive, anti-civic”, “exuberant contempt”, “threat to livelihood of individuals”, “a parasite that creates nothing”, “delinquent”, “sociopathic”, “invaded the privacy of millions”, “needs to be stopped in its tracks”.
This is the typical rant of the dying newspaperman – yes, mate, your “power” as a “journalist” with your beholden readers IS on the wane, your influence IS falling, your role IS diminishing – I can understand why you see the Internet and Google as bad.
But this isn’t journalism – like so much we now see inthe papers against the Internet, it’s massively ill-informed, superficial, frightened, self-serving invective. I fear it will do nothing more than to confirm the authors as dinosaurs who have received the last rites.
And there you have it.
On the back of the labour of others it makes vast advertising revenues – in the final quarter of last year its revenues were $5.7bn, and it currently sits on a cash pile of $8.6bn. Its monopolistic tendencies took an extra twist this weekend with rumours that it may buy the micro-blogging site Twitter and its plans – contested by academics – to scan a vast library of books that are out of print but still in copyright.
Twitter, if they want to be bought by Google, is a private matter. It’spurchase will benefit the users of that service…in any case, that has nothing to do with the thrust of this article, intellectual monopoly. It does point however shine a light on Henry Porter’s hatred of the rich and innovative, his sour grapes politics. As for ‘contested by academics’, this is ‘some people say‘. That is the company that Henry Porter keeps.
One of the chief casualties of the web revolution is the newspaper business, which now finds itself laden with debt (not Google’s fault) and having to give its content free to the search engine in order to survive.
Newspapers are dying because they do not provide what people need. If the Guardian provided what people want, the truth, then it would be a thriving business. The fact of the matter is, as the commenter says above, the Guardian’s content overlaps with every other newspapers content. they run the same stories, from the same point of view, and everyone is sick of it. This is why readers have turned away from newspapers:
Definitely the most ill-informed piece of propaganda I have read in a very long time and a great example of why nobody wants to pay for newspapers
Well said commenter. This is an absurd article that flies in the face of reality and the truth; why should anyone PAY to be lied to when they can get the truth for free and unfiltered from the internets?
Newspapers can of course remove their content but then their own advertising revenues and profiles decline. In effect they are being held captive and tormented by their executioner, who has the gall to insist that the relationship is mutually beneficial. Were newspapers to combine to take on Google they would be almost certainly in breach of competition law.
Newspapers, if they were to remove their content, would be committing suicide. They should do this, and go out like an hero instead of whining like spoiled brats. They have executed themselves by prostituting their non advertising column inches for anyone with money, and the Guardian is the biggest whore of them all. Were newspapers to combine to take on Google no one would notice; the content in all the papers is the same, and so it is already like there is only one newspaper… no breach of competition rules is possible between those bird cage liners.
In 1787 Thomas Jefferson wrote: “Were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate to prefer the latter.” A moment’s thought must tell us that he is still right: newspapers are the only means of holding local hospitals, schools, councils and the police to account, and on a national level they are absolutely essential for the good functioning of democracy.
I think this Thomas Jefferson quote is more appropriate:
“Knowledge is like a candle. When you light your candle from mine, my light is not diminished. It is enhanced and a larger room is enlightened as a consequence.” Thomas Jefferson
Quote found by Google of course.
Sharing knowledge is just like sharing a light from a candle.
Henry Porter and the intellectual monopolists want us all to live in darkness.
If, at a time of profound challenges, newspapers fall out with Google, it could be pretty serious for British society, which is why I referred earlier to anti-civic forces.
British society is in trouble because the newspapers have utterly failed to raise the alarm about the police state. They have failed to rally the people into revolt. They have failed in the very task that Henry Porter believes is their raison d’etre and sacred duty. The internet has done more than any newspaper to galvanize inform and solidify the revolt against the police state, as we are well aware; even email circulars are more powerful than newspapers in properly informing the public. Then there are the Blogs which have changed the game entirely. And now, YouTube, which shamed television news into playing catch up on one of the most important speeches delivered in front of a sitting Prime Minster ever. That is a blog post, by the way, NOT a newspaper article. No, newspapers are an irrelevance now thanks to their prostituting their power, and this article, this shameless, vulgar piece of transparent propaganda, is a perfect example of it.
Of course the company founded by Sergey Brin and Larry Page in 1998 – now reckoned to be the world’s most powerful brand – does not offer any substitute for the originators of content nor does it allow this to touch its corporate conscience. That is probably because one detects in Google something that is delinquent and sociopathic, perhaps the character of a nightmarish 11-year-old.
The only delusional people in this story are Henry Porter and the lobby he represents and is shilling for. The only people without conscience are the ones who would retard or destroy man’s progress for their personal profit. It is Henry Porter who is acting like a breast fed 11-year-old, whining that the world is changing and he can no longer get his ‘bitty’….”I want my rent mummy!!! WAAAAH WAAAHHH WAHHHHH”
This particular 11-year-old has known nothing but success and does not understand the risks, skill and failure involved in the creation of original content, nor the delicate relationships that exist outside its own desires and experience.
Henry Porter is painfully unaware about the history and true nature of intellectual monopoly, and how it is damaging to society. He wants to prevent failure of fossilized and sclerotic businesses by strangling innovators so that methods can never change and business and culture remain in stasis.
There is a brattish, clever amorality about Google that allows it to censor the pages on its Chinese service without the slightest self doubt, store vast quantities of unnecessary information about every Google search, and menace the delicate instruments of democratic scrutiny.
Henry Porter perfectly conveys spoiled and ignorant immorality that poses as righteous indignation. He chastises Google for obeying the laws of other countries while whining that Google does not better obeying the insane laws of the UK. This is hypocrisy, but when it comes to China, all journalists at the Guardian are in the same boat.
And, naturally, it did not exercise Google executives that Street View not only invaded the privacy of millions and made the job of burglars easier but somehow laid claim to Britain’s civic spaces. How gratifying to hear of the villagers of Broughton, Bucks, who prevented the Google van from taking pictures of their homes.
And yet, all the journalists who jumped on Google for Streetview, which everyone can use equally, did not make so much noise when the CCTV started to go up, which no one can access but the state. How is it that CCTV, ANPR etc is not as bad as Google Streetview? Henry Porter has been making the right noises about CCTV to be sure, but the newspapers as a whole have totally FAILED to make the right noises about CCTV. Google Streetview is NOTHING compared to the real-time CCTV and ANPR that the state has, and yet, where is the universal moral outrage? Where are the pig ignorant little Britain villagers taking down the surveillance cameras en masse? Oh, I remember, Henry Porter says:
Don’t get me wrong: I’ve always believed that the democratic state must be given power to act on behalf of us
which means that he is FOR CCTV as long as the democratic state is behind it, acting on behalf of us. Those villagers are FOR CCTV as long as its the government behind them! They are all as thick as two short planks.
We could do worse than follow their example for this brat needs to be stopped in its tracks and taught about the responsibilities it owes to content providers and copyright holders.
I am happy to say that articles like this are the death rattle of the pure evil that is newspaper journalism.
I am also happy to report that the majority of the comments on his article are entirely against it, for all the right reasons.
Farewell newspaper journalism, don’t let the door slam behind you.