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Loss of the Self is good or bad?

The two sides in MGM vs. Grokster both have very compelling core arguments that hit on some fundamental human instincts.  Our side (filesharing companies should be legal) says we need to protect the right to innovate and the social empowerment that can come from this technology, ultimately: “this technology is good for the public and for the future”.  It plays to the part of ourselves that wants to see societal progress.

On the other side, large content corporations say “I’ll die and your music and movies will too”, a sentiment that ultimately plays to a sense of personal defense and loss.  They get us by making us feel like we’re supposed to feel for these companies and feel threatened that things we care about will slip away. And on an instinctual level, we all feel “scared” for them. (Of course, we totally disagree with the “I’ll die and your music will too” argument because people outside of the corporate music industry are making good music left and right and the mainstream artists are gonna have to go somewhere.)  They dress it up in all sorts of ways, and put things in terms of the public and artists, but what’s ultimately most convincing about the other side is that they’re talking about themselves and the threat that they feel. So, the landmark case is “loss of the self, existential and personally” vs “public interest”. Since the major content companies have been bad companies, it’s hard to commiserate with their selfish desire for existence.

There were two editorials in the Washington Post and New York Times that were favorable to the content communities – very unfortunate.

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