Now I Get It
October 24, 2001 9:44 AM   Subscribe

Now I Get It
Ugh. Disney made the cartoon equivalent of Hillary Rosen reading your kids a bedtime story. Perhaps succeeding episodes can explain why we should all buy DVD reissues of Disney films. Or extol the virtues of Song of the South. (from Plastic)
posted by yerfatma (12 comments total)
If they're going to do something so terribly obvious, why not go all out? Make Donald Duck be the music industry CEO who loses it over consumers (Goofy) downloading mp3s.

Any better ideas we could pass along to Mr. Eisner, et al?
posted by yerfatma at 9:46 AM on October 24, 2001

BTW: "Birth of A Nation" is considered a classic -- perhaps rightly -- but the far more benign "Song of The South" is virtually banned. What gives?
posted by Iberaband at 10:15 AM on October 24, 2001

Though I can't find it via search at the moment, this was already posted earlier in the week.
posted by valerie at 10:25 AM on October 24, 2001

The Wired News article quotes the series creator saying it's not intended that way:
"I have copyrighted materials, but I like to download stuff as well, so I can go either way on this. That's the way we tried to leave it," said [creator Ralph] Farquhar, who added that the end of the show had one character not sharing files and one swapping files as usual. "Really, it was our way of telling a love story, dealing with two 14-year-olds and the temptations that might come up with the relationship...."
He goes on to say Disney proper left him alone making the episode--but then, there's always room for paranoia.
posted by markpasc at 10:30 AM on October 24, 2001

damn those bastards for telling people that downloading music you don't own is wrong because the artists and producers (and yes this includes those demon-spawn at the big record companies and the RIAA who we should all hate just because) don't get paid for their efforts.

posted by fishfucker at 10:38 AM on October 24, 2001

argh. not quick enough with the stop button this morning. er. I suppose I should explain myself:

the outrage of the slashdot/open source crowd towards anyone telling them they can't download music always strikes me as misplaced. if you want some sort of non-paying-for-things-utopia I don't know that the best way of going about it is to steal everything you can.

The ease (and relative inexpense) which with music, etc, can be copied and distributed does not mean that it should be done. The people who create this music at some point get paid from the recordings -- and no matter how little it is, they deserve this renumeration. Even if the record companies are screwing them, it doesn't mean that the solution should be to steal music.

now, in the interest of full disclosure: i do download mp3s. fairly damn often. i have bought less cds because of it. however, i don't try to make my actions seem reasonable or justified.

if disney wants to make a short film about the attitudes that napster and its companions inspire in people, good on them. just because things are incredibly easy to steal doesn't make it right to do so.

and yes, i use the word "steal". Downloading content you would otherwise have to pay for is theft. it always has been. I don't see these folks making the argument that pirated software is right; music is no different.

anyhow, i'm always interested in hearing arguments from the other point of view on this issue, though usually they tend to focus on how bad the recording industry behaves. and, as i've said above, i don't think this is justification enough to steal from it. but i'm truly interested in why people are so righteous about downloading mp3s -- I mean, the character in the plot summary who mentions that "downloading mp3s is a birthright" is barely a caricature.

i download mp3s because i'm a cheap bastard and don't like paying for what i can get for nothing. sure, there's convenient aspects -- like checking out bands I have yet to hear about; but i'm still a cheap bastard.

and that's what you should glean from this drivel: i am a cheap bastard.
posted by fishfucker at 11:15 AM on October 24, 2001

Using cartoons as propaganda is old hat (Warner did it all the time during WWII with Bugs Bunny, and even Dr. Suess got in the act with editorial cartoons against the Nazis). What bothers me is that with the consolidation of media, companies like AOL-Time-Warner and Disney can infiltrate their own agendas into all the "content" they produce.

It won't be long before shit-rock like that of 'N'Sync and Britney Spears starts to have anti-theft lyrics. Look for "Ode To Hilary Rosen" on the next Christina Aguilera CD!
posted by mrmanley at 12:10 PM on October 24, 2001

Hasn't Disney always produced films/movies/media where stealing is considered wrong? I don't see a difference. Stealing = illegal and unethical, therefore they are teaching children that stealing = bad. Did you expect them to take the criminal side and make a show about the good aspect of unlawful use and distribution of copyrighted material?

Also, pointing out that the world's entertainment media is owned by AOL, Time-Warner, etc is beyond the point. Yes, the consolidation of all entertainment/content production companies is a bad thing for culture and art, but it doesn't change the fact that these providers of said content do this for a living and should be paid for it.

(by the way, thanks to napster and then limewire and the fact that Tower sells cds for $20 now that are worth far less than that, i'm a bad bad person)
posted by eyeballkid at 12:22 PM on October 24, 2001

Copying music or software is not the same as stealing tangible objects such as the proverbial loaf of bread, because taking a tangible object deprives its owner of its use and later sale to a third party. If I copy my friend's Britney Spears tape, my friend has not lost access to that music; nor has Britney Spears, Jive Records, or Zomba Music Company. It is misleading, then, to call the copying of music "stealing", because that implies that it is an unethical act comparable to stealing spare change from your roommate's bedroom. On the contrary: copyright violation is merely illegal, like jaywalking, and not necessarily unethical.

In fact, one could argue that copyright itself has grown too big for its britches, that a situation where private corporations hold exclusive proprietary claim over the signs and symbols that form our culture and inhabit our dreams is intolerable, and that we should be able to say what we want, even if someone else said it before, as long as we accurately preserve attribution. One could argue that. But will a Disney™ show ever propose it?
posted by skoosh at 2:05 PM on October 24, 2001

Copying music or software is not the same as stealing tangible objects such as the proverbial loaf of bread

The same could be said using an insider tip to purchase large amounts of stock prior to a merger/sellout because that would tap into the profits of future investors who happened to gamble on that particular purchase for other ethical reasons.

The definition of the verb "to steal" does not require the acquisition of a physical object by the thieving party. One of Webster's many definitions of the word includes: to take or appropriate without right or leave and with intent to keep or make use of wrongfully . Just because there is no physical object involved, does not mean that there wasn't a theft. The hours put into creating music and software are no different than the hours put into manufacturing an automobile or tangible creation. In the case of new production methods in music and the demands of coding software, the process can be just as complex as designing a car. Copyright law has not "grown too big for its britches" if you consider the fact that it still serves its original intent, which is to allow the creator sole rights over his creation. Downloading music from the web is no different than breaking into a car and stealing it off the dealer's lot. Jaywalking laws are in effect as a public safety measure and have nothing to do with this situation.
posted by eyeballkid at 2:39 PM on October 24, 2001

Oh wait, hold up-- I never said mp3 "trading" wasn't theft. Sure it is. And I might be Public Enemy#1, if it weren't for that Osama fella.

The point isn't that the "moral of the story" is wrong. It just feels a bit crass, even in these Days of Crassness we live in. There are a million things that are morally or ethically wrong that Disney could be teaching kids. Somehow they saw mp3 theft as a more important issue than violence, racism, etc.

My complaint was that Disney feels they can have an influence on kids (while so many argue, perhaps rightly, that cartoons don't affect the way kids think), but they choose to stuff a corporate message down kids' (proverbial) throats. There are more important things for kids to learn than not to stick it to the man.
posted by yerfatma at 3:31 PM on October 24, 2001

Stick it to the man?

It's fairly definite that the results of using EZ Jackster were portrayed in such a manner because children (of a cartoon-watching age) have a difficulty understanding abstract or overly complex subjects. Tell them, "Well, the reason why you shouldn't steal mp3s is because [insert various dissertations re: how mp3s may or may not affect the music industry]," and you've as good as lost them.

Give them a visual representation, and they understand better. I applaud Farquhar for touching the subject in a children's forum to begin with. It certainly is something that needs to be covered. If they've got older siblings who used Napster, then for certain all they're hearing is a bunch of justifications why Napster was harmless and why it's okay to download mp3s.

Yes, I download mp3s. Yes, I know it's wrong. I can still dig a program willing to tell my kid that it's wrong.
posted by precocious at 5:47 PM on October 24, 2001

« Older   |   Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments