The word psychedelic means “mind manifesting” and nothing drags the human mind out where we can get a good look at it quite like the Internet. It’s not always pretty. But as a model of our collective consciousness it certainly deserves a blue ribbon. It’s largely full of porn and politics (in the broad sense), but no more so than most of the individual minds that it reflects. It’s a distorted mirror, for sure, but it’s also a focalizing lens. It’s a tool of connectivity that allows us to create community, and to build the interlocking islands of consensus and dissent that are necessary to foment a rich and multivalent cultural dialog. And with the rise of social networking we’ve finally begun to manifest, model, and manage the human hypermind itself! Facebook is primitive, and it’s distorted by greed. It will be supplanted by something far better. And someday that better thing will be abandoned in favor of its own successors, and so may it be forever. We’re moving in the right direction, at least. We’re becoming more deeply interconnected, more keenly aware of one another, more interdependent, and in the end, I believe, more whole.
It’s hard to remember, but back in 2005, Yahoo seemed like it had its game on. After losing out on search dominance to Google, it snapped up a bunch of small-but-cool socially oriented companies like Flickr (social photos), Delicious (social bookmarking), and Upcoming (social calendaring). There was a real sense that Yahoo was doing the right thing. It was, to some extent, out in front of what would come to be widely known as Web 2.0: the participatory Internet.
But Yahoo’s social success in those years was almost accidental. It wasn’t (and isn’t) a company with vision. Its founders Jerry Yang and David Filo’s great contribution to the Internet? They built a directory of links and then sold ads on those pages.
It was a gateway, nothing more. This was hardly an innovative idea, or technically complicated to pull off. You don’t have to write algorithms to build a portal. Yahoo was little more than an electronic edition of Yellow Pages.
If you were to listen to leaders of the copyright-focused industries, you’d think that they were on the verge of collapse. The rationale for the (temporarily-shelved) SOPA and PIPA was that Hollywood and the recording industry are being financially steamrolled by piracy. They routinely make claims of billions of dollars in losses, and they’re rarely questioned. We all know that piracy is rampant, and since piracy means free content, it must be hurting these industries… right?
Not necessarily. New data uncovered by Techdirt shows that the copyright industries are doing booming business. Here are some of the most eye-popping figures:
- The value of the recording industry jumped from $132 billion in 2005 to $168 billion in 2010
- Recording artists’ share of music revenue jumped 16% to $16.7 billion
- Worldwide box office revenue grew from $25.5 billion in 2006 to $31.8 billion in 2010
- Book publishing revenues grew from $26.5 billion in 2008 to $28 billion in 2010
- Entertainment spending as a fraction of income rose by 15% from 2000 to 2008
- Employment in the entertainment industry rose 20% during the same period
- The overall entertainment industry grew by 66% from 1998 to 2010
- Worldwide video game industry rose from $20 billion in 2000 to nearly $80 billion in 2012
Pedophiles connecting to a concealed child pornography site got an unwelcome surprise last week, courtesy of the hacktivist group Anonymous. Lolita City, a child pornography site run on over a concealed “darknet,” has been taken down by Anonymous members, and account details of 1,589 users from the site’s database were posted as evidence.