Generation D is for Disruption

by PaleFire on 27/10/10 at 12:32 am

Gene Simmons:  Be litigious. Sue everybody. Take their homes, their cars

gene simmons kiss

Kiss bassist Gene Simmons announced he is fighting back against the “popcorn farts” – that would be Anonymous – for having launched Operation Payback. Anonymous, with its latest operation, has  declared war against the media giants. But the content czars are not going to surrender. In a panel on building successful brands at MIP2010 Gene "the tongue" Simmons endorsed an aggressive stance against copyright infringement: “Make sure your brand is protected…Make sure there are no incursions. Be litigious. Sue everybody. Take their homes, their cars. Don’t let anybody cross that line.” Surprisingly (shocker, I know), Gene Simmons’ Web sites ( and, toppled under a DDoS attack the very next day.

You gotta admit: It’s a heck of an enterprise to take on the media – but Anonymous did.

Last month saw Web sites falling one after another as the hactivist aesthetic was played out. The justification was simple: entertainment companies are cracking the lawsuit whip *not* to protect their intellectual property (which actually belongs to the artist), but rather, to exploit people with forced  out-of-court settlements. It appears that the media concerns don’t intend to share the money from this exploitation with the artists either – entertainment industries are not interested in stopping piracy, but exploiting it. Curiously, the porn industry is leading the anti-piracy efforts and quickly got on the waitlist of designated targets.

A recap of the issues can be found here and here. Meanwhile, some people praised Anonymous for their hacktivist efforts, while others condemned it, claiming that "stealing" other people’s property is unacceptable. But is making a copy theft – or something else – and has the legal system caught up with the implications of teh interwebs – and Anonymous?

At this point, knee deep in the Internet, bytes coming out of our ears, and armed with gadgets, we need to acknowledge the impossibility of protecting property online and understand that while content can be (and will be) stolen, creativity cannot. But that’s not the concern of the entertainment companies, it is the bottom dollar that counts.

The obsession with copyright is the residue of the semi-expiring print era that has been dominating society for the past several centuries. Let’s remember that the concept of “copyright” and “author” emerged with the invention of the movable type which later became the printing press. It would be a safe bet that the novel was the genre that legitimized the “author.” Maurice Couturier (1991) explains that in the 18th century, readers were too close to the oral era where the storyteller was often both the author and the narrator of the story. So why would the novelist to sign his work when it was supposed to be written by a character?

As print culture matured with the sense of ownership that copyright legitimizes, the practice of anonymous publication eventually faded away and the “author” was born. When the good folks in the 15th-16th century were writing manuscripts, intellectual property was the last thing on their minds. But I digress… The moral of the story is that, change is happening, whether we like it or not. And the “popcorn farts” have raised the flag… The question now is, how will the entertainment industries respond without alienating their audience? To put things in perspective, let me mention that authors have been meddling with these issues in their own way by experimenting with giving away content, much to the dismay of their publishers.

William Mitchell, published his book City of Bits with MIT Press in 1995, and since the subject-matter of the book primarily dealt with the digital revolution, he decided to provide a free online access to the full text. He was confronted with skepticism by MIT Press who told him that this decision would weaken the sales of the printed book. City of Bits’ Web site had a link to the online order form that provided the reader with the option of choosing either version.

Surprisingly, although the Web site offered a free version of the full text, the online version stimulated the bookstore and the mail-order sales rather than weakening them. Mitchell explains this curious outcome by suggesting that the hardback and online versions added value to the text in different and complementary fashions, so the readers of the Web version were not necessarily potential customers for the hardback.

In 2001, Douglas Rushkoff made a similar attempt with his novel, Exit Strategy, published previously in England under the name Bull, in which the characters are caught up in the bubble – which bust in 2001. Experimenting with the idea of an open-source novel (which, I argue, had failed to meet the criteria of “open-source,” although, admittedly, the project was an intriguing experiment in and of itself), Rushkoff posted the novel online and asked his readers to annotate the manuscript assuming the role of an anthropologist under the premise that the entire text was written in present day, but then hidden online, only to be discovered 200 years from now.

Traditional publishers – according to Rushkoff -  could not understand his willingness to devalue his “copyright” by posting it online—for free.

Other voices of skepticism viewed Rushkoff’s project as an “online scam” and even the journalists who came to interview him could not see it as anything but a covert business plan, suspecting that there must be a catch. Ultimately, no traditional US publisher dared to make an offer on a book that was slated to be released online, for free, before it was released in print. Yahoo Internet Life agreed to host the project while a small publisher, Soft Skull, agreed to publish the resulting novel. Rushkoff donated all of the profits from the sale of the book to the Electronic Frontier Foundation and Free Software Foundation. True, this is not PIRACY. But Some authors are giving away their content for free, which demonstrates that when users obtain something for free, there are still other things to buy, a point that Chris Anderson argues quite effectively in Free! Why $0.00 Is the Future of Business.

To make this point crystal clear, Steve Lieber, discovered that the good folks at 4chan had scanned and uploaded every single page of his comic book Underground – from a Twitter message. But instead of screaming piracy, Lieber paid a brief visit to the 4chan forums to engage the fans who liked his work so much that they put in the effort to share it with the world. Rumors has it that Lieber cracked jokes while he was there and lived to blog about it. According to Lieber, there was a massive spike in the sales after 4chan got a hold of his content:

bootlegged chan

Note the difference between a glowing review from BoingBoing – one of the more “traditional” new media websites – and the “humungous” influence of the new new media outlet that is 4Chan. Is this a barometer for how content will be marked in the future? Some say it could be.

Om Malik’s recent blog post briefly examines why mainstream media outlets are failing – repeatedly – and makes a convincing case that there is no new media– it’s all about new consumption.

Here’s my favorite excerpt from the post: “Generation D, where D is for disruption, is adapted to route around the old models: old models controlled by old men.” Malik’s argument is that media industries are failing to see the big picture and understand what he characterizes to be the “new Internet people” which, I am assuming, probably includes the popcorn farts, IRC dwellers, 4chan, torrenters, YouTubers, and… well… participatory culture in general.

88 Responses to “Generation D is for Disruption”

  1. Gundel Gaukelei

    Oct 28th, 2010

    @Boyd Doghouse The only way to stop people from stealing content…

    Violating the copyright law is not the same as stealing.

  2. II Singh

    Oct 28th, 2010

    @nelson Point conceded. Though one could hardly call the bilge they created “songs”. More like unmusical incoherently adolescent ramblings.

  3. II Singh

    Oct 28th, 2010

    @80s dude oooooohhh yeah….. beautiful…….bonk bonk. Cool band yello. Two guys if I remember correctly more a duo than a band really.

  4. edna

    Oct 28th, 2010

    What a complete line of bullshit written here in the comments. I always suspected it, but now I’m convinced that I’m the only one here who managed to move out of mommy’s basement. I won’t spoil Santa Clause for you kids, but I will tell you that mommy and daddy pay money to have the house you live in and to put food on the table. When the “artists” don’t get paid to make movies and music, they simply won’t make movies and music because they’ll be out working a job that pays them.

    As I’ve said before, when one of you cretins shows up at one of my restaurants and offers to put in a good 40 hours flipping burgers every week and then refuses your paycheck, then I will take another look at your naive “everyone should work for free” drivel.

  5. Nelson Jenkins

    Oct 28th, 2010

    @ edna

    I always thought it would be inevitable that you would come along and toss bland, irrelevant insults and fashion some sort of ad hominem argument to prove your point.

    So when the “artists” don’t get paid to make movies and music – even though that’s not what we’re aiming for, and you’re just being irrelevant and misleading – they’re apparently going to stop making movies and music. I ask… so what?

    Art is not art if it’s done solely for cash. Art, in and of itself, needs some kind of intrinsic value to hold any worth in the marketplace. It may be that it’s of rare supply (which would be why the Mona Lisa is so incredibly valuable) or possibly of great benefit and educational value. Way, way too much music (or rap/hip-hop, which is not music) is sold at an exorbitant price compared to the production value and net gross of the musician(s). And when these big-name no-heart musicians want more dough, what do they do? Release a new album made mostly of other peoples’ work (try suffering your way through a hip-hop album sometime and identify the looping track) and demand even more.

    So finally, let me reiterate for the third time (because apparently, even though you have read the comments sufficiently to pass your judgment that they are a “complete line of bullshit”, you utterly failed to understand anything I have said myself thus far). We are not going to break down artists’ doors and steal their work to give it to everyone. That is solely up to the artist. But the tactics that some are using against their own customers solely to keep their outdated, unfair, inefficient failure of a business model is just way out of line and needs to be addressed.

  6. II Singh

    Oct 28th, 2010

    @nelson You are wasting your time with the edna troll. There are several personalities here that seem to exist for only one reason to needle and annoy those who would try to explain themselves or their position. Ignore the little pest and perhaps it will do the noble thing and go die quietly in the corner. The more likely scenario is that they choose a new nome des plume and continue their game all over again. For whatever it is worth analyze the annoyance file them away and then move on. Edna’s track record is one that requires the all-powerful cone of silence to remedy.

  7. Boyd Doghouse

    Oct 28th, 2010

    I know you want to believe violating copyright law isn’t stealing, because admitting it would mean having to admit that you were a thief.

    Copies of copyrighted material have value so taking them without paying for them is stealing.

    Intellectual properties are some of the most valuable things in the modern world. It doesn’t matter that there’s no physical object involved.

  8. Gundel Gaukelei

    Oct 28th, 2010


    I’m not even surprised that you’re a junkfood dealer.

    Restaurant! LOL!

  9. Gundel Gaukelei

    Oct 28th, 2010

    @Boyd Doghouse

    The last time I checked the law, it said something different. Stealing is defined as physically taking a physical object away with the intent to turn it into your own property. Your legal laymens idea of the law may be great in the pub, tho.

  10. Tux

    Oct 28th, 2010

    @ Gundel

    Here is the same: nothing physical = nothing stolen.

    LMFAO @ Edna’s flipping burger resturant

    But really I suspect s/he didn’t mean to imply s/he was the owner, I read it as the nearest supply chain to his/her trailer.

  11. MOAR

    Oct 28th, 2010

    People who are butthurt about so called piracy should go and search for a different jobs. Piracy has been going on since before the internet. Deal with it, or GTFO.

    I’m a content creator in SL, too. And my products have been copybotted. Should I know go and destroy the RL of those copybotters? WTF? Those copyright Nazis must be hardcore misanthropists.

    Seriously. I don’t like people much. But financially destroying someone, or blackmailing them like some other content creators do, is against my human nature. Copyright Nazis are no better than the Mafia.

    Sure, some accounts might get banned, because I want to stop them from spreading my works. Then they just open another account. And better stop spreading my works, unless they want to be banned again. That’s enough. I’m not some greedy asshole who wants to blackmail them into giving me their money, like the Copyright Nazis.

  12. edna

    Oct 28th, 2010


    Interesting that someone who posts ludicrous and inflammatory drivel like yourself should feebly attempt to paint me as a “troll” for posting about how it actually works in the real world.

    I did learn something from your post however. Perhaps I did make a mistake it my post; not everyone has to actually pay to live and eat. Leeches like you can come over to my country and suck the blood out of hard-working taxpayers like myself with your voracious appetite for welfare and food stamps.

  13. edna

    Oct 28th, 2010

    @ Nelson

    “.. they’re apparently going to stop making movies and music. I ask… so what?”

    Actually, I agree with you completely there. Personally, I haven’t seen any recent movies or heard any recent music that I’d miss all that much if it disappeared. However, since people are stealing this stuff, and care enough to break the law to do so, I assume THEY actually want it and would be missing it if it disappeared.

  14. II Singh

    Oct 28th, 2010

    Moron boy apparently doesn’t know the difference between an avatar name and RL name. Parentage decidedly more westward than my avatar surname would suggest. Epic failure on the part of a misanthropic troll. My theorem has been proven. QED. Or checkmate if you prefer… though chess may be to advanced for you. In your case Yahtzee or Tic-Tac-Toe would be more appropriate.

  15. Gundel Gaukelei

    Oct 28th, 2010


    It’s really a shame these damn immigrants invade the country of you honest native americans. You should have sunk the damn Mayflower.

  16. edna

    Oct 28th, 2010


    Drama, drama. If that’s true, than you are not only clueless on the real-life responsibilities of an adult but also suffering from a mean case of disassociative identity disorder. Get some meds, find yourself a job, and try to contribute something to society instead spending your time committing criminal activity on the internet.


    Yes, well we never learn from history. Hundreds of years later and the US still hasn’t locked down its borders to keep the riff raff out.

  17. Nelson Jenkins

    Oct 28th, 2010

    @ edna

    You’re one to talk. Burger King restaurant manager is not a job.

  18. edna

    Oct 28th, 2010

    Nelson, Burger King flame broils their burgers – there is no need to flip them. I make my living with a string of adult entertainment websites. Actually, though, I did work at my local Burger King while I was in high school. The kids working there make minimum wage, the typical salary for a Burger King manager however, is well over $110,000 a year and they work their asses off for it.

  19. Nelson Jenkins

    Oct 28th, 2010

    @ edna

    Adult entertainment websites are even less of a job, especially if you are the content.

    And just because a Burger King manager is paid $110k a year doesn’t make it a job. I can get a job at a nuke plant for twice that and work half as much, but it requires a degree (you know, those sheets of paper that employers virtually require nowadays). Anything less is not a real job.

  20. Gundel Gaukelei

    Oct 28th, 2010

    @edna: Yes, well we never learn from history. Hundreds of years later and the US still hasn’t locked down its borders to keep the riff raff out.

    Sadly that border is also not working the other way around.

  21. A1A

    Oct 28th, 2010

    Funny how some people are. IP value means nothing to them because they have no intellectual property to defend. Even the most IP liberal music artist charge $75-250 a ticket to come and see them play music, but if you or I would like to change our name to their name, put a band together with their same name and try to book shows under their name that very IP liberal music artist would file a huge IP lawsuit and probably get feds involved. IP is a possession of great value, but according to some people IP should have no value, unless of course it applies to them. Let’s say its not your intellectual property, lets say its your apartment or house you live in and I just walk through the door some day with my suitcase and move in. I refuse to leave, I want to live in your place for free, eat your food for free and stink up your bathroom for free. You pay for everything, I pay nothing and have full rights and access to all your possessions. Each and every person on this forum would call the police to have me thrown out. But when you can’t see the face of the persons you are taking from it makes it so much easier, its like they are not there, and besides, they “owe you” something. Yet, turn the other side over, where someone wants to take from you, and you would call the police. I walk into your house, pick up your laptop or computer and walk out. It’s your property, not intellectual or virtual but just the same, its yours. What do you do? You call the police and report the theft of your expensive equipment. What do you do, if I “steal” (is that still a real word?) from you over and over? You not only call the police but you sue me to get me to stop. You want your property, you might have actually worked hard to get that laptop or computer and when that is taken from you, you want to defend yourself. Imagine a world without money, where everything was free, there were no jobs to go to, and no personal property. Oh yeah, we all remember that time, it was cave man killing cave man to get a few scraps of meat to eat, and we may still end up there again if this intellectual conversation is any indication. Funny how some people behave when they have nothing worth losing.

  22. edna

    Oct 28th, 2010

    Nelson, You’re being a bit silly.

  23. Nelson Jenkins

    Oct 28th, 2010

    @ edna

    Pot, meet kettle.

  24. edna

    Oct 28th, 2010


    Those American tourists aren’t me, I’m not going anywhere filled with a bunch of foreigners who talk funny.

  25. SlShapeshifter

    Oct 29th, 2010

    I’m not sure that I can take him seriously after what his son Nick pulled awhile ago. I mean, who is teaching this kid?

  26. Gundel Gaukelei

    Oct 29th, 2010

    Tourists? I didn’t know Wikileaks was a collection of travelogues …

  27. Nelson Jenkins

    Oct 29th, 2010

    @ A1A

    I run a business in SL, yet I’m an advocate of artists who chose not to milk their customers for every penny. I am not an advocate of IP theft. I doubt anyone is, really.

    But there’s a certain air about your post that raises a red flag for me. You assume that copying is the same thing as stealing. Certainly if you had a movie sitting on your desk and a friend came by and just magically made a copy of it, you wouldn’t really be that much affected, would you? Even on my end, I don’t really care if people decide to rip me off. When they start profiting on my creations I get a bit edgy, but if they want to distribute copies of some old outdated junk to friends, what do I care?

    Of course, there’s the inevitable argument of “potential sales”. There are so many ways to disprove this that it’s not even funny. First of all, those who torrent ripped movies often don’t have the money to purchase them, so they never would have actually bought it in the first place. It’s not a justification, but it’s proof that the content creator would never have made any money either way. Second, a lot of people like to have a demo before they purchase something. Lots and lots of games simply don’t have demo versions, and it’s difficult to justify purchasing a brand-new game with little knowledge as to how good it is. There’s a really great game called Tropico 3 that I couldn’t find a demo for, but I wasn’t sure if I wanted to full-out buy it since it’s so underrated that nobody I knew had it. I loved it, and I paid for it in the end. And finally, in some cases ripped copies are downloaded after a purchase is made, such as if the CD/DVD is lost (this happened to me on a few occasions) or if it’s scratched, broken, or corrupted. I purchased Grand Theft Auto IV on Steam a while back because I was interested in LCPD:FR (a gameplay mod). Turns out the Steam version just won’t accept modded files. A ripped copy did the trick.

  28. curious

    Oct 29th, 2010

    as far as the “nothing physical therefore nothing stolen” argument goes; I have to ask how you would define say me twiddling some “nothing physical” bits in some server somewhere that results in your life savings winding up in my bank account.

  29. Nelson Jenkins

    Oct 29th, 2010

    @ curious

    That is an entirely different concept with tangible ramifications. Copying something, which leaves no trace nor deficit, is nothing like switching a flag to destroy someone’s life savings, which leaves an enormous trace and deficit.

  30. Gundel Gaukelei

    Oct 29th, 2010


    computer fraud – completely different from stealing – nevertheless still a crime.

    Just because something isn’t exactly the same as stealing doesn’t say anything about it being any more or less legal. Thats a common misconception you guys can’t seem to get out of your heads.

    There is of course a reason some of the right holders want everyone to think of copyright, trademarks, patents … as of just another kind of property. It would extent their control beyond the limitations (eg. fair use) the creators of law intentionally introduced for immaterial goods. For one, they want to get rid of things like fair use (which I’m paying for with a “tax” on every CDROM, DVD, burner device, copy machine, printer …).

  31. At0m0 Beerbaum

    Oct 29th, 2010

    I think people here are missing the point as to why they’re attacking Simmons.

    His attitude is very arrogant. “Sue everyone” and “protect your brand”

    are fighting words. the latter showing what he really cares about. Real artists care as long as they get exposure. Though naturally they want compensation as long as people are willing to pay for music.

    If Simmons took a more humble approach rather than the “FUCK YOU STOP STEALING MY BRAND” I dont think he’d be an active target. The fact he refers to his music as a brand says a lot about what he really thinks of his music. He doesnt see it as an art, he sees it as a cash cow and marketing thing.

    No surprise, KISS was never really that good. They were alright at best, but they cannot hold a candle to other groups of the era when it comes to talent.

  32. Gundel Gaukelei

    Oct 29th, 2010

    The point is: He made himself a target. Given his fading popularity I’d be tempted to say: intentionally so.

  33. Alyx Stoklitsky

    Nov 2nd, 2010

    What’s funny is that Gene Simmons’ son is a blatant IP thief himself.

  34. King Reggin

    Nov 8th, 2010

    Hope he sues you fat fucks.

  35. Nelson Jenkins

    Nov 8th, 2010

  36. SlShapeshifter

    Nov 9th, 2010

    @Alyx: My thought exactly. And for the rest of you:

  37. michael

    Apr 6th, 2011

    I LOVE YOUR SHOW “gene simmonds family jewles

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