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The Lazy Smear of "Piracy"

As Hollywood studios and record labels watch a whole new online "sharing economy" arise -- in which ordinary people create and share things online without having to buy "product" -- Big Media is coming to a dismaying realization: the people formerly known as the audience are morphing into a participatory network. And this new social form is beating the hell out of an already-tattered business model.

So what’s the best response? In classic W. fashion, Big Media is doubling-down. They’re betting that even more proprietary technology and locked-up content will do the trick — but this time, with bigger locks and more aggressive surveillance of customers’ private lives. The copyright lobbies convinced Congress to give it a number of new enforcement tools last month, including free enforcement of civil cases by the U.S. Justice Department.

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