Ancora Attali

Abbiamo parlato, in due occasioni, di libri di Jacques Attali (Karl Marx, ovvero lo spirito del mondo e Breve storia del futuro).

Oggi ne parliamo con riferimento a una sua recente presa di posizione (riprendo da Internazionale di oggi, 20 marzo 2009).

La settimana

Lezioni

“Che sia possibile, nel 2009, far votare al parlamento, con i voti della destra e di una parte della sinistra, una legge indegna come quella in discussione oggi è un ulteriore segno del fatto che le élite politiche ed economiche di questo paese non capiscono nulla di giovani, di tecnologia e di cultura”. Sembra l’Italia, ma siamo in Francia. E sono parole di Jacques Attali, intellettuale ed economista, a lungo consigliere di Mitterrand. Nel suo blog, Attali ha attaccato il progetto di legge che vuole impedire il download gratuito di musica e film. L’ha definito “scandaloso e ridicolo”, perché applica una norma sul diritto d’autore che risale al diciottesimo secolo. Bisogna trovare nuovi modi. Nei commenti al suo post, un anonimo lettore ha scritto: “Sono un musicista indipendente. Lei avrà l’autorità morale per dare lezioni sulla gratuità solo quando avrà messo gratis su internet tutti i suoi libri”. Il giorno dopo Attali l’ha fatto: i cinquanta saggi che ha scritto negli ultimi trent’anni sono online a disposizione di tutti. – Giovanni De Mauro

L’articolo originale lo trovate qui (dove trovate anche il dibattito che l’intervento di Attali ha scatenato):

Une loi scandaleuse et ridicule

Comme en agriculture, où les riches paysans de la Beauce se sont depuis  longtemps cachés   derrière les pauvres agriculteurs de montagne, pour obtenir des  subventions  dont ils étaient en fait  les principaux bénéficiaires, les industries du cinéma et de la musique mettent   maintenant en avant quelques créateurs et quelques chanteurs bien vus des puissants, pour maintenir d’indéfendables rentes de situation.

Qu’on puisse dans la France de 2009  présenter et faire voter au Parlement, avec les voix de toute la droite et d’une partie de la gauche,  une loi aussi indigne que celle qui vient en débat cette semaine à l’Assemblée nationale est une signe de plus d’un pays dont les élites politiques et économiques ne comprennent plus  rien ni à la jeunesse, ni à la technologie, ni à la culture.  D’un pays où les mots distraction, culture, art, spectacle, commerce, chiffres d’affaires sont employés de façon indifférenciée  .

Cette loi vise à surveiller ceux qui téléchargent gratuitement de la musique ou des films, à leur envoyer une semonce, puis une amende, ou l’interdiction de l’accès à internet. Cette loi est absurde et scandaleuse.

Absurde, parce que plus personne ne télécharge :  on regarde ou écoute en streaming . Absurde parce que toute volonté de crypter est sans cesse contournée par des moyens de le dépasser. Absurde parce qu’on prétend  interdire d’accès  à internet toute une famille, qui en a besoin pour son travail, parce qu’un enfant utilise l’ordinateur familial pour écouter de la musique.  Absurde parce que les vrais artistes n’ont rien à perdre à faire connaitre leurs œuvres, ce  qui leur attirent de nouveaux spectateurs et   les protègent, à terme, contre l’oubli.

Scandaleuse   parce que cette loi ouvre la voie à une surveillance générale de tous les  faits et gestes des internautes ;  parce qu’elle protège les rentes de situation des entreprises de média, qui ne sont pas incitées à apporter des nouveaux services à leurs clients (les paroles des chansons, les œuvres d’artistes inconnus, des films en 3 D ou tant d’autres innovations qui s’annoncent ailleurs) et les privilèges des fournisseurs d’accès,( qui devraient, en finançant une licence globale, fournir la rémunération des droits d’auteurs, des interprètes, des maisons de disques inventives  et des agents des artistes ) . Scandaleuse surtout parce que, pour une fois qu’on pouvait donner quelque chose gratuitement à la  jeunesse,  première victime de la crise, voilà qu’on préfère engraisser les majors de la musique et du cinéma, devenues aujourd’hui cyniquement, consciemment,   les premiers parasites de la culture.  Et en particulier, comment la gauche, dont la mission est de défendre la gratuité contre le marché, peut elle se prêter à une telle hypocrisie ?

A la fin du 18ème siècle, les  lois sur les droits d’auteurs ont été écrites pour protéger les créateurs contre les marchands. Au milieu du 19ème siècle, telle fut aussi  la raison d’etre des premières  sociétés d’auteurs . Voilà qu’on prétend les utiliser pour protéger les marchands contre les créateurs !   Pire même, voilà qu’on prétend  transformer les artistes en une avant-garde  d’une police de l’Internet  où sombrerait la démocratie.

Cette loi sera sans doute  votée, parce qu’elle est le pitoyable résultat d’une connivence passagère entre des hommes politiques, de gauche comme de droite,  toujours soucieux de s’attirer les bonnes grâces d’artistes vieillissants et des chefs d’entreprises bien contents de protéger leurs profits sans rien changer  à leurs habitudes.

Cela échouera, naturellement. Pour le plus grand ridicule de tous.

Se invece volete leggere o scaricare gratuitamente i saggi di Attali, l’indirizzo è: attaligratuit.wordpress.com. Le opere non ci sono ancora, ma ci trovate il commento all’intervento precedente che ha indotto Attali a questo passo.

Anche Paul Krugman (premio Nobel per l’economia 2008) è a favore del download gratuito: lo ha scritto sul New York Times del 6 giugno 2008.

Op-Ed Columnist

Bits, Bands and Books

Published: June 6, 2008

Do you remember what it was like back in the old days when we had a New Economy? In the 1990s, jobs were abundant, oil was cheap and information technology was about to change everything.

Then the technology bubble popped. Many highly touted New Economy companies, it turned out, were better at promoting their images than at making money — although some of them did pioneer new forms of accounting fraud. After that came the oil shock and the food shock, grim reminders that we’re still living in a material world.

So much, then, for the digital revolution? Not so fast. The predictions of ’90s technology gurus are coming true more slowly than enthusiasts expected — but the future they envisioned is still on the march.

In 1994, one of those gurus, Esther Dyson, made a striking prediction: that the ease with which digital content can be copied and disseminated would eventually force businesses to sell the results of creative activity cheaply, or even give it away. Whatever the product — software, books, music, movies — the cost of creation would have to be recouped indirectly: businesses would have to “distribute intellectual property free in order to sell services and relationships.”

For example, she described how some software companies gave their product away but earned fees for installation and servicing. But her most compelling illustration of how you can make money by giving stuff away was that of the Grateful Dead, who encouraged people to tape live performances because “enough of the people who copy and listen to Grateful Dead tapes end up paying for hats, T-shirts and performance tickets. In the new era, the ancillary market is the market.”

Indeed, it turns out that the Dead were business pioneers. Rolling Stone recently published an article titled “Rock’s New Economy: Making Money When CDs Don’t Sell.” Downloads are steadily undermining record sales — but today’s rock bands, the magazine reports, are finding other sources of income. Even if record sales are modest, bands can convert airplay and YouTube views into financial success indirectly, making money through “publishing, touring, merchandising and licensing.”

What other creative activities will become mainly ways to promote side businesses? How about writing books?

According to a report in The Times, the buzz at this year’s BookExpo America was all about electronic books. Now, e-books have been the coming, but somehow not yet arrived, thing for a very long time. (There’s an old Brazilian joke: “Brazil is the country of the future — and always will be.” E-books have been like that.) But we may finally have reached the point at which e-books are about to become a widely used alternative to paper and ink.

That’s certainly my impression after a couple of months’ experience with the device feeding the buzz, the Amazon Kindle. Basically, the Kindle’s lightness and reflective display mean that it offers a reading experience almost comparable to that of reading a traditional book. This leaves the user free to appreciate the convenience factor: the Kindle can store the text of many books, and when you order a new book, it’s literally in your hands within a couple of minutes.

It’s a good enough package that my guess is that digital readers will soon become common, perhaps even the usual way we read books.

How will this affect the publishing business? Right now, publishers make as much from a Kindle download as they do from the sale of a physical book. But the experience of the music industry suggests that this won’t last: once digital downloads of books become standard, it will be hard for publishers to keep charging traditional prices.

Indeed, if e-books become the norm, the publishing industry as we know it may wither away. Books may end up serving mainly as promotional material for authors’ other activities, such as live readings with paid admission. Well, if it was good enough for Charles Dickens, I guess it’s good enough for me.

Now, the strategy of giving intellectual property away so that people will buy your paraphernalia won’t work equally well for everything. To take the obvious, painful example: news organizations, very much including this one, have spent years trying to turn large online readership into an adequately paying proposition, with limited success.

But they’ll have to find a way. Bit by bit, everything that can be digitized will be digitized, making intellectual property ever easier to copy and ever harder to sell for more than a nominal price. And we’ll have to find business and economic models that take this reality into account.

It won’t all happen immediately. But in the long run, we are all the Grateful Dead.

Krugman non ha (ancora?) reso disponibili tutte le sue opere per il download gratuito, ma sul suo sito si trova già parecchio.