Wednesday, June 14, 2006

A Cheer for Comics and a Moan for America

Alright, I understand. Techno-political issues aren't everyone's thing. The issues themselves can be hard to understand, and often those who summarize their view slant it so far to one side or the other it becomes comical.


While they target different audiences and thus have slightly different purposes, the largest supporters and opponents of stronger copyright protection have released... I kid you not... their own superhero comics, Captain Copyright and The Corruptibles.

Now Captain Copyright came out first, and has already come under fire for his questionable... err.... copyright policy. That's not to say anything of the talk that he is a plagiarized work himself and that he lifted content straight from wikipedia without attribution.

The Corruptibles are created by the EFF and by contrast are aimed at adults. Once the cartoon is over, more in depth information about their side view of copyright can be found within a few clicks.

I admit, I enjoy clever marketing. The ability to turn heads for long enough to deliver a simple message is no easy task. A task many are paid lots of money to do for a living. And yet, I'm sad that both sides of this important issue which needs to be discussed honestly and openly are turning to slanted comic books in order to sway public opinion. It reminds me of the criticism John Stewart made about the show Crossfire (watch it, it's worth it) where both sides don't actually debate about anything so much as simply yell their talking points at each other until someone goes hoarse first.

I guess the side still talking can chalk that up as a win, and somehow it has more value as such than a compromise, but it just doesn't sit right with me.

The implications of new copyright legislation are too great for either side to win outright. A compromise must be reached. Hopefully it'll fall somewhere in between the extremes so that consumers still have what we enjoy today under fair use, while the artists still get their fair share (and not necessarily through the established business models that exist right this minute).

Life is not black and white. Politics are not left and right, nor conservative and liberal, nor Republican and Democrat. I'm worried by the growing trend of polarization that simplifies the issues so the public can easily sift through each one. It may be easier for the average Joe to choose a side, but it comes at the expense of talking about and developing a solid middle ground. But... that's a more detailed post for later.

For now, let's just say I left comics for novels years ago. I'm sorry to see the trend going the other way in the one arena where we most need debate..

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