What caused the jukebox to go down

Control is worse

The arguments put forward by Gorny and Co. are based on the assumption that nobody would make music or create culture if both were not produced, distributed and financed under the terms of the previous system. They overlook the fact that the new technical possibilities do not only lead to a business challenge (vulgo: downfall). It is primarily a dream for all artistically active people that today one can make identical copies without any loss of quality, which cannot be distinguished from the original and which also do not reduce their value. The digital copy opens up a form of distribution, and thus the public, that is unprecedented in the history of culture. Anyone who creates culture wants to make it public. Art today can find maximum dissemination at minimal cost - a substantial challenge for everyone who has previously made their living with scarce copies. Because nowadays copying is no longer costly, it is rather a natural process that anyone can carry out on their computer within seconds. Digitization has made copying music a scandalized everyday occurrence, just as the introduction of radio changed the way we listen to music at the time. In both cases, technical progress is followed by a loss of control of the previous: So it is hardly surprising that the music industry, for example, is putting all its energy into curbing the digital copy. At first she also demonized the radio. The radio used to be angry too. The complaint at the time was: Nobody would make music if it were sent through the airwaves free of charge and uncontrolled. For people who only knew songs from the jukebox for a fee, the randomness of the radio was just as scandalous as the practice of file-sharing networks for today's music managers. We know, however, that the radio may have reduced the popularity of the jukebox, it did not lead to the downfall of the West or the end of music. Rather, it has made new ways of distribution possible - namely, in which music used the medium and did not fight it. Can you learn from this story? Can one look for solutions that meet the challenge of digital copies by using their undeniable opportunities for art instead of blocking them? There are numerous models that do just that. The sales success of the Nine Inch Nails albums "Ghosts I-IV", which are under a so-called Creative Commons license, can be downloaded free of charge in digital form from the Internet, but still topped the list of the best-selling CDs at the Internet retailer Amazon in 2008 , is just the latest example of a number of alternative but successful attempts to create, spread and finance culture off the beaten path. The creative commons scene and the open source movement in the software sector show that there are viable concepts that, however, move beyond what one has always done. The fact that one reads and hears comparatively little about it is due to the fearful fixation on doom scenarios and prohibition fantasies. Even on the part of the rights industry, probably nobody believes that digitization can be stopped or even reversed. The fact that Apple, as the largest online music retailer, in consultation with the music industry, will in future be without copy protection in music files must be read as proof of this. But they do believe in a delay there. It would be too nice if you could just leave the search for new models to the next generation and still enjoy the old, golden times a little. A repressive approach is being propagated that criminalizes a whole generation of young cultural users across the board and will cause even greater social damage. How is that supposed to pay off? First, a commercialization of culture is promoted, which deals with the question of the financial viability of art at the highest level. The defenders of the traditional have recently taken on the position of a family patriarch who simply replies to his son's career aspiration to become an artist: "And how is that supposed to pay off?" Great works of world literature, painting and art would not have been created if the sons and daughters had bowed to the fathers' fixed perspective. The fact that they didn't do it shows that art has always had to contend with adverse conditions - and has often overcome them. So it is not new that art and culture have to prove themselves against resistance. What is new is that you can count on almost free and almost unlimited distribution. Second, the current debate creates an atmosphere of fear that is fixed on supposed originals: culture has always been based on the principle of adaptation, allusion and copy. The massive lobbying work of recent years has criminalized this principle and marginalized it - for the benefit of industry, not culture. Under today's conditions, a supposed original genius like Vincent van Gogh would no longer be able to praise the power of copying as naturally as he did in a letter to his brother in the 19th century: "Copying interests me immensely," wrote the painter and confessed: "I think it teaches you a lot, and above all it sometimes comforts you. I imagine the black and white of Delacroix or Millet or the black and white reproduction of their things as a motif. And then I improvise on it in Color, but get me right - I am not quite myself, I try to hold on to memories of your pictures, but this memory, the approximate connection of the colors that I perceive emotionally, even if it is not exactly the right one - is my own interpretation. " A van Gogh of today, who may not work with brush and paint but with digital tools, would first have to answer the question of the exploitation rights of a millet. Today no artist can work as carefree as the painter remixed foreign motifs with his own color improvisations in the 19th century. In response to pressure from the rights holder, the video portal YouTube has just announced that it will mute music clips with unresolved copyright law. A more fitting image of the destructive influence of repressive copyright law could not be imagined: It silences art! Digitization is a technical development step that has revolutionary consequences. This sentence, prophesied in countless articles, is becoming a reality today. Society and the so-called cultural scene have to ask themselves how they want to deal with it. Copyright expert Jeanette Hofmann recently got to the heart of this question rhetorically. "Would we have wanted," asked the political scientist from the London School of Economics, "that the candle makers in the 19th century determined the use of electric light?"

Text: dirk-vongehlen - Photo: dpa