So it is clear that my site is very illegal. I knew this, as dealing with nerdy culture is an area plagued with fair use issues and copyright grey areas. By creating this site and writing for it, I realize that I love it and I want to pursue it. I believe this site is useful in pursuing my career, so the idea of monetization is present. Therefore, I have no problem making the necessary changes to reduce obvious copyright. Let me explain:
I remixed my background and the images I use for my title cards. Thankfully, what I have primarily discussed are popular franchises. I replaced them with stock images that are free of copyright. I also learned to pay very close attention to the footer of websites now, as that is usually where the copyright notice is. However, the readings have made the prospect of preserving my site for a potential career as terrifying. Nash’s article claims that the success of websites, or any form of publishing like this, is incredibly lucky and minimal. Part of me also knows that, but, if I don’t at least try, will I be able to chase my dreams? Corny, I know, but I think this website is incredibly important. I know that my chance of success is minimal, and I know that what I do, the “scrappy, 19-year-old undergraduate student with dreams follows his passion”, is faulty, overdone, and quite frankly, not unique. And saying that it is overdone, faulty, and unique, is overdone, so I am going to stop it now.
What I think also resonated me in Nash’s article is the dissemination of literature being educational. Books are not terrifying, nor are they dying. In fact, print media has gone up recently (though this is due to prohibitive digital technology and the colouring book trend). My site is also meant to broaden the mind to the artistic form of pop culture media (shut up Nolan). Furthermore, the written word is a very powerful thing. If I cultivate a following whatsoever, that means I have a group of dedicated followers and fellow creators. I have a group to command and do my bidding, like the king of a small nation. Of course, I wouldn’t do that, it is an incredibly stupid tactic that would blow up in my face in the long run.
I think it is important for me to respect the amount of control I have with my website. I can publish, free of any constraint. I am wholly individualistic. And Doctorow’s article encourages this self-publishing. But I believe that praise comes from the lack of censor or control. The only censorship I do now is profanity and copyright. I like to keep content legal, but still pleasing for my audience. Now that I know copyright customs, I can be much more cognizant of what I expel unto the world. I have to worry about not offending people unjustly, what the entire planet sees about me, AND not getting sued for millions and having my whole life ruined?! This is going to be hard work!
John Green’s article, however, seemed to be targeting cheap publishing methods. Not necessarily my website in particular, but Amazon’s practice of charging very cheap for novels. I believe my content is exempt from Green’s disdain, as I do not charge a cent. However, if monetization comes into play, then will that lead to the book falling in popularity? I know it sounds hypocritical after I previously just said it would not die, as their power lives on. The audience receives content for free, and I get paid. They keep returning because it is free, and I get paid more and more; a perpetual cycle. But Green brought up something that was interesting, and it was that Self-Publishing could be flawed, as the lack of professional editors and publishers can lead to worse work. I never thought of that, maybe because I had the youthful mindset of “sticking it to the man.” So if I can create a flourishing business…then I may need an editor to handle copyright.
Clay Shirky’s article reminded me of so many copyright issues I see on Youtube and the Streisand Effect. The Streisand Effect is when something gets silenced, but because it got silenced, more people wish to see what that thing is. The Streisand effect is deadly on Youtube videos because you can (illegally) download videos and re-upload them. If enough traction and poor publicity come from a publisher attempting to silence or remove videos, then it is pretty evident that whatever got silenced is pretty significant. That 14-year old who distributed content was not trying to harm the brand; he was trying to show love for it. Yes, piracy is terrifying for publishers and copyright companies, but, is it so harmful? Introducing private DRMs for your PAYING customers does not encourage them to pay more. It has the adverse effect and increases piracy. People are willing to pay for a convenient service. Reading books digitally can sometimes have a bunch of hurdles for the reader to endure, like buying a $100 device specifically for reading. Buying a physical copy, however, is much easier. You purchase the book; you can read the book. No government surveillance DRMs, no paywalls, no issues. People are willing to pay for a convenient service. Movie piracy decreased when Netflix was released because Netflix is such an excellent service that pleases its customers. People will pay for conveniences, and it is why so many cable networks are swapping to a streaming service. Streaming services can be taken anywhere, so people have anything they want at their fingertips. Call this gluttony, or “failure of society,” or “young people are the anti-christ,” or whatever you wish to, I think it is a sign for cable networks to adapt or die. Copyright networks are under the same fire. If availability becomes more prevalent, copyright holders are going to struggle to protect their brands. Hell, there are thousands of YouTube videos pointing out the flaws of copyright, and the hashtag #WTFU (where’s the fair use), shows the injustice and the abusive power of copyright. I believe that copyright should change. However, I do not know how it could or what measures we must take.