Pirates! Who are they? Johnny Depp has redefined the genre with Captain Jack Sparrow. This portrayal is entertaining for sure – but not necessarily accurate. Pirating is about selfish intentional plunder, it is about seeking out treasure possessed by others and taking possession of the treasure by any means possible. The modern entertainment industry has labeled as Pirates anyone who copies their product for personal gain. This is somewhat of a stretch – but the definition comes from capitalists who’s primary concern is not art. Their concern is profit.
When we consider the revolution of the technological age and the opportunities to digitally transfer information, we cross the boundaries of profit, entertainment, and art.
The creators of television entertainment argue that their ‘art’ should be rewarded and the definition of reward is defined in corporate contracts. But most of the material produced as entertainment falls short of being ‘art.’ So drop that argument. The material is better defined as a ‘product,’ much like an automobile assembly line. There are differences in quality for sure, a Lexus has more value than a Kia – but that is decided by the capitalist market – not by the redeeming qualities of art. Some entertainment is better than others – but these ‘products’ fall in the category of craft rather than art.
I ran across this video on youtube – and I really enjoy this guy’s interpretation of the current material environment.
Pirates plunder. The term pirate should be reserved for the mass plundering and resale of entertainment for profit by Chinese Gang lords, or other forms of organized crime.
But I have sympathy for artists. I have written two novels. The novels are products of great time and energy. If my novel sells off the shelf at Barnes & Noble and the purchaser gives the hard copy to another to share the story – have I been robbed? No, that is the way it works. The poor smuck who cannot afford the $29.95 Barnes & Noble ticket price has to wait for the used copy. Society has accepted this reality for generations.
Here is the real paradox. I create art because I want to share the ideas with others. If no one reads my work – then my work is for nothing. But we have they physical needs of food, clothing, and shelter – at what point does art become merely a product – a means to an end, rather than an end in itself?
But we live in a digital age – has technology changed the dynamic of sharing art?
Here is another idea: