Week 5-Levine

In the world that we live in now, it seems that everything is free… You can find music for free, movies for free, resources for free, and the list goes on.  As a consumer, it’s nice.  I appreciate all of the free things available on the net.  However, if I was on the other end of the spectrum, I’m not sure I would feel so good about all of this!

Levine makes some great points, but I think comes across a little harsh and hard.  He does bring up some good issues…. maybe I’m just not a fan of his tone. 

I am intrigued by the piracy issue that most people see as the basis for this whole problem we are facing now.  I have to disagree with this group of people  and take Levine’s side on this one. In his book “FREE RIDE: How Digital Parasites are Destroying the Culture…” Levine talks about how Piracy isn’t the issue here. (Location 89)  He talks about how so many things that are illegal are so easy to access and this is causing a huge problem! (Location 89) The more people use these “illegal” resources, the more other companies are going to struggle.

In my professional life, I tend to worry about what is going to happen later in my career.  Really, the only potential partial fix to this problem is to stop making everything so easily available.  I know this is going to be hard, if not impossible… but I’m not sure of any other options.  Things are just too easy to get to.  Too easy to access… I’m not saying that I want these changes, but I’m afraid they are going to happen in big ways.  I have already begun to see some of these things happen in sites that I use myself.  Some of my favorite educational websites are now charging for a membership.  Even though I’m sad this is happening  I think it might be the start to something new.  However, if all people don’t get on board with this, the charging sites or businesses are going to struggle.  Have I bought the membership?  No.  Why not?  I can find material somewhere else for free…. It’s probably not as good, but it’s something I can use.

I hate to admit it, but I’m a part of this problem….And I know I’m not alone.  I know some people will pay for the exact thing they want, but most of us would take something that’s a little less than what we want if it’s free.  

I think that Levine probably does not participate in things like Netflix and Hulu simply because they are distributors who benefit from other peoples’ work.  Is this brilliant? YES.  Is it making tons of money? YES.  Is it helping the individual producers of movies and tv shows?  I’m not sure.  I know that they can get paid from people watching their show through these businesses…. But how much does it benefit them?  Are they just going along with it to be able to make something?  Something is more than nothing right? I’m afraid that if we continue on this path, lots of creativity is going to be squashed.  People aren’t going to be motivated to create new things because there won’t be anything there to reward them.  We all have to make a living somehow.  (Ideas from Location 143)

There are some big challenges ahead and I think that we, consumers, need to be ready for some big changes. 


3 thoughts on “Week 5-Levine

  1. Hi Amanda, interesting post. I admit that before reading Levine, I didn’t think much about how sites like Hulu and Netflix potentially took revenue away from original content creators. I usually don’t use the sites much myself (although I do pay for them) mostly because if there is something I want to take the time to watch, I’d rather watch it live rather than wait for it to be redistributed on a secondary site. When you read Levine’s arguments and contrasted them with Lessig’s, which viewpoint resonated most with you?

  2. I disagree that people won’t be motivated to continue creating if we continue on our current path. I think people will always have the desire to create, regardless of being rewarded monetarily. If the only reason an artist creates is to make money, I’m not sure they would be very satisfied. Maybe this is an important reason to teach our students to be intrinsically motivated, not to encourage people to work for free, but to teach people to be happy. However, it is necessary to be able to support oneself, and it is really sad when the creator can’t afford to develop their craft while corporations make a huge profit off of them, as was the case with Ellen Seidler, the independent filmmaker of And Then Came Lola, who struggled to compete as Google AdSense contributed to making her film widely available legally. Unfortunately, she may not make another film because there isn’t much of a profit to be made (pp. 99-102). It would be such a shame if individuals decided not to showcase their talents because they don’t have any protection.

    I agree that part of the problem is that it’s really easy to find media online for free. The average consumer may not even be aware of the politics behind it. For example, when I searched for And Then Came Lola online, I immediately saw links to watch it on YouTube, Amazon, and Vimeo, and before taking this class I didn’t see this as a problem as a consumer. I’m still not sure where I’d go online to support Seidler directly. Unfortunately, it seems that most consumers aren’t willing to spend the time to seek this out.

    Here’s a link to an interview with Ellen Seidler about her stance on piracy on the Harvard Business Review:

  3. While I agree with portions of your post about Levine’s book (such as not liking his tone), I’m in the same boat as ‘fussybunsmama’ when it comes to whether or not people will lose the motivation to create. It’s human nature for people and individuals to want to create things to make their existences easier (the development of tools), more entertaining (the development of cultural traits and practices, or longer (who doesn’t want to live longer). Because of these feelings, people are going to create things no matter what it is or how much wealth it can bring.

    I like Ellen Seidler and I think And Then Came Lola is an awesome movie, but I feel that there are just going to be instances of this type of thing occurring when change happens. Because of the changing world market driven by communication technology, the creators are going to have to change and adjust in order to keep pace with the new world. It’s ironic that technology can benefit someone so greatly (like an independent film maker) and also be what leads to their downturn.

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