[Thesis] You Can’t Squeeze Blood From a Stone. Why ACTA Isn’t Beneficial for the Media Industry Either.
Love to watch your shows online? Like to create Nutella memes to get on the hot page of 9GAG? Want to rock out in your bedroom on Gangnam Style to put it on your YouTube Channel just like Keenan Cahill did? This might all be illegal someday. Even though the Anti-Counterfeiting Agreement has been set aside, the battle on internet rights is not over. If it’s up to the involved governments and the mainstream media industry laws or agreements of this kind are coming rather sooner than later.
THIS… is my Teenage Dream: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lm_n3hg-Gbg&feature=player_embedded
— Katy Perry (@katyperry) September 2, 2010
So what’s the battle about? They say it’s about intellectual property rights for the advocates and freedom of speech for the opponents. Ok, I suppose that’s true. But what’s also very obvious is that the advocates are mostly concerned about profits. This is why I think the freedom of speech argument of the opponents really isn’t that interesting to them. If we, the opponents, want to win this battle we have to come with a more interesting argument to the advocates. We have to come with an argument that opposes laws and agreements like ACTA, but that at the same time at least shows profits will not be lost and maybe dropping laws like this can even increase profits. Allow me to take a shot.
At the start of this summer I graduated my BA ‘Media and Culture’ from the University of Amsterdam. I wrote my thesis on ACTA and it was called ‘You Can’t Squeeze Blood From a Stone. Why ACTA Isn’t Beneficial for the Media Industry Either.’ In this thesis I offered an alternative argument to drop or at least reconsider ACTA from a mainstream media industry point of view.
ACTA has come into being because of concerns about piracy, illegal downloading, peer-to-peer sharing and user-generated content. These would be the reasons intellectual property rights and profits are under pressure. Using the theories of Henry Jenkins and other authors I looked at The Colbert Report and his Colbert Nation, Lady Gaga and her Little Monsters and Radiohead’s way of promoting their album In Rainbows. All three very successful profitable examples of the mainstream media industry. But what’s noticeable about these three examples is that they don’t use the old traditional media approach to copyright by criminalizing fan-activity, but that they embrace and encourage their pirating, illegal downloading, peer-to-peer sharing and user-generating fans. They realize they have to do that to maintain profitable and even increase profits.
On Christmas Day I will leak to you an unreleased Song off Born This Way! It was recorded live, in one take, on the tour bus. Uncensored. ☃
— Lady Gaga (@ladygaga) December 22, 2011
Merry Christmas! Here’s a SoundCloud download of my unreleased song “Stuck On F*ckin’ You”: bit.ly/uCS27x For your IPODS!! I love u!
— Lady Gaga (@ladygaga) December 25, 2011
Let’s conclude: ACTA and similar laws or agreements aren’t beneficial for the media industry. A new collaborationist business model that fits the new techniques and ‘sharing is caring’ sense of Web2.0 is needed to maintain profits and would even be able to increase profits when used wisely.
Scheffers, Ineke. ‘You Can’t Squeeze Blood From a Stone. Why ACTA Isn’t Beneficial for the Media Industry Either.’ Bachelor Thesis University of Amsterdam, 2012.