Thursday, January 17, 2008

The RIAA == Neil Postman

The RIAA is run by people like Neil Postman. The core problem with governance in the RIAA is they don’t understand their business. Postman shows the same flaw of understanding; take this gem from a speech he gave in ’98:

“School teachers who are enthusiastic about [television’s] presence always call to my mind an image of some turn-of-the-century blacksmith who not only is singing the praises of the automobile but who also believes that his business will be enhanced by it. We know now that his business was not enhanced by it; it was rendered obsolete by it, as perhaps an intelligent blacksmith would have known.”

If the blacksmith’s business is defined by using a forge and handling all metal work in the area, then yes, that sort of blacksmith is gone. But if you define the blacksmith as someone who works with metal to create and fix, then blacksmiths are very much in business. Postman didn’t recognize automobiles were a boon to blacksmiths because he didn’t understand their real business. Similarly, the RIAA doesn’t recognize that file-sharing is beneficial because they don’t understand their business isn’t only distributing music, but providing entertainment through music.

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