Laurel L. Russwurm's Free Culture Blog

a writer, the copyfight and internet freedom

Why I Don’t Support the Humble Bundle

with one comment

my copyleft symbol

Even though I can’t be considered a gamer, I used to support the Humble Indie Bundle, because it supported free software and independent creators, and made it possible for creators to realize that a locked down patent encumbered copyright driven world was not the only option.

But even as free software and free culture supporters flocked to buy Humble Bundles, and incidentally made the Humble Indie Bundle wildly successful, somewhere along the line, the word “Indie” fell by the wayside, and they expanded into publications as well as games. But when they introduced a Microsoft bundle, it became apparent the people running this initiative weren’t as committed to the principals they espoused as they would like us to believe.

Unsubscribing from their mailing list but it doesn’t seem to work, so today I was horrified to receive a mailing for their new offering: The Humble Star Wars Comics Bundle.

I grew up with Star Wars; it has had a profound cultural impact on me. And all of the contemporary culture I grew up with is firmly locked up in copyright. Before I understood how copyright works, I actually thought Sonny Bono was a hero for championing more restrictive copyright law. But I’ve lived through the aftermath, and now I know better.

These days, I don’t go out of my way to find new copyrighted works. The only exception I make is for Independents… I will go to the local music festivals, and buy Indie CDs to support the artists. Funny thing, though; I almost never play them. Oh sure, I have lots of movies on DVD, and I even buy new ones, on occasion; and them only ever from remainder bins, because I think the worst thing we can do is to support the corporations that work so hard to strangle our culture.
So even though both my cultural history and my head are full of copyright encumbered creative works, I don’t need any more.

I do realize that not all Free Software supporters are equally committed to free culture. I will always disagree with Free Software champion Richard Stallman’s position on free culture, because it suggests free culture is somehow less important than free software. And The Humble Star Wars Comics Bundle proves me right.

Star Wars stopped being a creative work a long time ago: these days it isn’t a movie, it’s a “franchise.” And poor George Lucas was so desperate for a few billion dollars that he sold his franchise to Disney.  Disney is certainly the corporation most invested in the pursuit of perpetual copyright, the driving force behind the MPAA’s perpetual lobbying for increasingly onerous (and the criminalization of) copyright law — not only with the American government, but with any government it thinks it can influence. So we’ve seen laws like SOPA and secretive International Trade Agreements like ACTA being pushed and passed. Oh sure, Europeans took to the streets over ACTA anf the EU turned it down.   And around the world, Wikipedia led a fight against SOPA and it was stopped.  Sort of.

But.

Lots of other countries (like my own Canada) went ahead and passed ACTA anyway.  And there is no end to secret trade Agreements.  All the worst things are coming to pass.   Frankly, I would rather be writing a novel than this.   If things were left to muddle along at their own pace (as would happen if that mythic “free market” actually existed) I have no doubt that free culture would win in the end.  But those powerful special interests aren’t willing to run the risk of that happening. They aren’t willing to live and let live, their goal is total control.

And corporations have an unfair advantage in their war on human beings; they don’t get tired, and they can pursue their goals 24/7. And politicians, especially the unaccountable politicians common in winner-take-all “democracies” like ours, are easily influenced by such powerful special interests.

And our biggest failing is that we humans have other things to occupy us. You know, frivolous things, like raising our families, feeding our children, and sometimes even creating and sharing our own cultural works.

Which is why the too powerful corporate Special Interests are winning… far from being truly defeated, the worst things about CISPA and ACTA keep coming back.

And the formerly humble indie bundle is supporting this.  But I can’t.  And if you care about freedom, you shouldn’t either.

The Battle of Copyright - CC-By 2.0 Christopher Dombres


Image Credits
My own Copyleft Logo for this blog (the copyleft symbol over my Russwurm Social “LR” monogram) is CC0

The Battle of Copyright” by Christopher Dombres, released under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 License

[Also:Thanks Charles!]

Written by Laurel L. Russwurm

October 16, 2014 at 2:52 pm

One Response

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  1. Well said!

    Wayne Borean aka The Mad Hatter

    October 16, 2014 at 6:30 pm


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