on Sep. 15, 2012 :
I was given this book by the author to review. I would be lying if I said this essay didn’t make me think more about why I became an artist, and why I should respect other artists. I have always been against illegal downloading and file sharing, just for the simple fact that it’s wrong. Reading this essay made me see it in a different light, and displayed different aspects of file sharing in examples that I had previously seen as innocent (ex. watching a youtube video that contains music that has not been given specific permission to use by the artist themselves.) The author compares file sharing to cancer and how “those infringements harm the entire artistic ecosystem, and as a result everyone ultimately loses through them.” (Loc. 83)
Although I have come to learn, through high school and college, that Wikipedia should not be used, or considered as a reputable source, I was very pleased to see that the author uses other more credible sources to ally his position. As I was reading this essay, it came to seem like I was reading a textbook. It felt too wordy and pretentious. More layman terms would have been appreciated and like a fraction, it needed to be simplified for arguments to be presented to, and appreciated by people of my generation, and the younger. There were some instances where I had to re-read sentences and paragraphs, and other times when I had to mentally replace words for simpler ones. When trying to make a case in an argumentative and persuasive (and also quite informative, I might say) essay, wouldn’t it make sense to simplify and summarize as much as possible (without losing integrity and credibility) to ensure the reader’s comprehension of the subject matter?
I like how each of his sections is a title or lyric from a song. My favorite section of this essay was “You’re the Inspiration,” probably because of how much I personally related to it.
“Whether it is via literature, movies, poems, songs, or other artistic media, inspiration is frequently conveyed in the form of stories of individuals who undergo tribulations and face obstacles similar to, or symbolic of, those the audience members are confronted with. And as those characters overcome challenges and eventually reach freedom, the audience members identify with them, anticipate their successes, experience their releases, and ultimately feel uplifted by the outcomes.” (Loc. 418)
As the author explains the relationship between illegal file sharing and the superorganism of human beings as a whole, he uses inspiring examples to make it easier for us to understand and draw our conscious to the same conclusions. In the essence of “oneness” he explains The Golden Rule in regard to Buddhist, Christian, Bahá’ í faith, Jainism, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, and Taoism cultures to show that the world indeed somehow grasps at the spiritual concept of respecting others is to respect yourself, and so on and so forth.
“‘Is not reciprocity a word? What you do not want done to yourself, do not do to others.’ (Confucious)” (Loc. 1058)
In continuing with supplying examples, the author also gives us stories, poems and even his own personal experience with illegal downloading. His personal story really made me think; although I may not willing share and illegally download, I may still, albeit unconsciously, be in cahoots with people who do and unknowingly have such material on my computer. This degradation in their character may result in the degradation of my own property, and that’s what shocked me the most. In all, I really love the idea of this essay and it provided me with a lot of information on the subject of illegal file sharing. This gave me a way of seeing the situation from different angles, and how it is a much greater influence in our world than I cared to believe it to be in the first place.
First Line: “My first day of work on this essay was mostly invested in gathering and sorting ideas expressed in several conversations in which I took part over the course of the recent weeks.” (Loc. 42)
“As long as the materials haven’t been approved for distribution in that fashion, sharing them is illegal regardless of the nobility of the intentions of the sharers.” (Loc. 233)
“The three poisons of ignorance, attachment, and aversion are considered to be the causes of all sufferings. Ignorance is the source of the other two, and is defined as identification to an independently existing self.” (Loc. 643)
“Beyond the justifications, illegal file sharing is damaging to the infringers, the artistic ecosystem, and as a result, the whole of society. Just as a cancer, it is parasitical. However, the analogy doesn’t mean that there is no cure for the problem.” (Loc. 2602)
(review of free book)