I just got around watching a piracy documentary that I DVR’d a couple of weeks ago. It’s called “Rip: A Remix Manifesto.”  In it, I saw the most interesting ad featuring none other than Jackie Chan and Arnold Schwarzenegger. It’s a bit dated, but it’s still cool for what it is. I wonder if the actual spot had subtitles? I’m the type to root for the bad guys. Imagine that.

The documentary made a compelling argument about the shift in power from mass media broadcasting to narrowcasting and user created content. I don’t exactly agree with “remixing,” but as a fan of the source music often used by DJs I just had to watch.  It can be tastefully done though. The strongest argument of the documentary was that “big media” re-wrote the laws to suit its own well being and not the well being of artists. A copyright used to become public domain after 14 years, but now it’s 95 years if owned by a corporation, and the lifespan of the creator plus 75 years if it isn’t. That’s a very short-sighted policy. A copyright seems more like a sentence and prosecuting “pirates” seems more like a racket.

I feel the same way about advertising as I do about piracy. Give people a product they really care about and they’ll buy it. Why suspend our disbelief that the media and marketplace aren’t saturated with products that don’t even TRY to meet our needs. “If it’s free gimme three!” If I have to pay for it, it better be exactly what I’m looking for. At one point in the film, the narrator said that no one asked him if he wanted to see ads on billboards, bus shelters, commercials, and fliers everywhere he goes. So why should he have to ask these conglomerates for permission to consume media how he wants to? I’m with him on that!