Satire as Misrepresentation

by on October 24, 2005 · 2 comments

Apparently, in PFF land a “satire” is when you blatantly misrepresent your subject and then heap scorn on the straw man you’ve created.

The article strongly implies that “Sal” would watch the movies and listen to the music she copies, and that the indexing service would just be a gimmick to excuse the copying. But of course, that’s the whole point: no human being will ever see the book copies Google is making. Moreover, the average book is about 100,000 words long, of which Google will show about 50 words. So to be analogous, Sal’s service would have to play less than one second (not 30 seconds) of a 3-minute song or 5 seconds of a 2-hour movie.

In short, once we modify Sal’s plan to accurately reflect how Google Print would work, it becomes clear that her service would be (1) completely useless and (2) no threat whatsoever to copyright holders. This is satire?

  • Jim Harper

    In fairness, Lauren Weinstein calls it satire in the original. It’s not a PFF characterization. But it is extremely inapposite satire, and not very good, isn’t it? Lauren would have done a better job by satirizing how his computer violates the copyrights of software authors each time the computer runs programs. But then that would have made a different point: that Google is not harming the market for copyrighted content and vastly increasing the usefulness of such content at the same time.

  • Jim Harper

    In fairness, Lauren Weinstein calls it satire in the original. It’s not a PFF characterization. But it is extremely inapposite satire, and not very good, isn’t it? Lauren would have done a better job by satirizing how his computer violates the copyrights of software authors each time the computer runs programs. But then that would have made a different point: that Google is not harming the market for copyrighted content and vastly increasing the usefulness of such content at the same time.

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