According to Robert Levine, author of the new book Free Ride: How Digital Parasites are Destroying the Culture Business, and How the Culture Business Can Fight Back, the massive amount of copyright infringement on the Internet is “jeopardizing our creative content, hurting our economy, [and] destroying jobs.”
In this video, Levine takes a trip to New York City, where he lived in the 90s. One of his favorite neighborhoods in the city was St. Mark’s Place, where he’d buy music on vinyl and CD. “I think at any given time, there’ve been four or five record stores on this block alone,” he remembers. “Less than 15 years later, all that’s gone.”
And the reason: copyright infringement online. “The same forces that really just decimated the music business are now starting to affect these other businesses. Film, TV, books and newspapers. And you’re gonna see the same thing happen.”
The issue, Levine says, really comes down to jobs: “You’ve got to look at the whole picture, everybody who works at those companies is suffering, and fewer people are working there than were working there before. That’s not good at all. Fewer films get made, the films that get made have smaller budgets, and that doesn’t only affect actors who are making millions of dollars. It affects the people that do hair and makeup, the set designers, the crews.
“Who’s employing people and who’s generating creativity? Because creativity without the Internet is still a business. The Internet without creative content is not much of a business at all.”