Steal this?

Steal this?
: Kurt Andersen has a fine commentary on Studio 360 on the zeitgeist of stealing music and other creative property. He quotes the Rolling Stone’s Street Fighting Man (within fair use boundaries, of course) and then says:

Back then, for about five minutes – five thrilling minutes if you were young — rock and roll itself felt like a challenge to The Man, as if it were the soundtrack to Revolution.

And in that insane, giddy, anarchic moment, stealing stuff was redefined as OK. Not just OK – romantic, counter-cultural, even revolutionary, as glorified in Abbie Hoffman’s brilliantly titled book “Steal This Book.”

And that ethos returned with the Napster era: “Countercultural utopia had finally arrived.” But Andersen has second thoughts about nabbing songs today. He concludes:

all the rampant wink-winking about free file-sharing is not really a tenable posture. It really is copyright infringement on a vast scale, and our culture depends on copyrights being honored.

The impossible dreams hatched the late-60s were abandoned pretty quickly in the 1970s. Now, here in the oughts, it’s time to wake up from the impossible dreams hatched in the late-90s. As my parents never tired of telling me when I was a kid, there’s no such thing as a free lunch.