There are several topics I love to absorb knowledge and perspectives on. And like most cases of becoming more informed on an issue, my personal stance on the matters often get fuzzier the more I read.
I don’t take a 180 on these things, because common sense usually builds up most of my less-informed opinions and lingers well into later educated evaluations. I don’t go from sensing something is very wrong with the current state of affairs to believing it’s all generally right. Information is grey, after all.
One of my most-read topics of interest is intellectual property (although here I’ve only written about it once). It’s the history of the concept that intrigues me – I wrote a surface-skimming paper on it in university and I’ve maintained interest since. The current dialogue is too “us versus them” (“us” being the MPAA/RIAA with big pockets and “them” being a vague faceless general public who ruin culture by not throwing money at everything they see and hear), with a clouded and overall inaccurate history of the Western tradition – as if it has always been in favour of indefinite copyright and a pay-per-use economy of seeing and hearing, if not thinking.
I sound biased, and that’s because I am – after disarming my opinion in favour of reading educated and well-researched histories and contemporary interpretations of the matter that widened the breadth of my view and depth of my knowledge for only a slightly different picture I had before. The incentive to create in quality rather than quantity, for common benefit and an enriched society rather than short-term profit, comes from a more open exchange than perpetual restriction from public use and distribution. The industry stance seems to be: as long as there’s money to be made, nobody else should be making it.
I could write a book out of my thoughts on this (although not a very good one compared to those I’ve read) so before I start rambling on I will close this off with the following statement: there is a growing movement to support those who demonstrate an open approach to exchange of ideas by first providing something for free or near-free. Whatever unleashes the knowledge or creative content now for public engagement will be more loyally appreciated by those who enjoy it the most. It will be good business to let content into the public domain.