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ABOUT The World ...  

Par Claude Chastagner, professeur d'anglais à l'Université Paul Valéry à Montpellier.

  Rebels on the Net

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For all the subversive and rebellious movements of the last forty years and the various critiques of bourgeois society carried out since the 1960s have in fact served the interests of global capitalism. Indeed, what was advocated (and still is) as the necessary condition to free the individual from the shackles of capitalist and/or conservative regimes was fast change, delocalisation, the abolition of taboos and prescriptions, of religious and traditional customs. However, all these restrictions represented a check to the spread of capitalism. Capitalism thrives on the destruction of the past; it requires the free, mobile, fast-going, isolated consumer, contemptuous of traditions, the new man brought about by the portable phone, the lap-top computer and commercial TV and radio, the P2P, file-sharing individual. 
The paradox of being at the same time the rebellious supporter of Napster and a consumer of corporate produced music is only apparent. The two are in fact complementary. Which brings us back to the historical reality of pirates: individualistic, rebellious entrepreneurs serving the interests of their governments.

What is left to subvert now that capitalism has become both the enemy to slay and the instrument with which to slay it, now that rebellion against transnational companies is carried out in the name of a capitalist venture, now that consumption has become the means to fight consumer society? How is it possible to be at the same time in and out, to rebel without seceding, to subvert without renouncing, to enjoy without surrendering? This is the fundamental challenge of modernity.

Aftermath By Jim Hu and Evan Hansen, Staff Writers, CNET October 31, 2000. German media conglomerate Bertelsmann said Tuesday that it has formed an alliance with online music-swapping service Napster, signaling a significant shift in the so far hostile face-off between the major record labels and the start-up. The two companies are developing a new subscription service to let Net users swap songs copyrighted by the recording giant. Members of the proposed service would be able to search and download songs--legally--from Bertelsmann's entire catalog of artists. 
For now, the company will offer a loan to Napster to create the subscription service. Bertelsmann executives invited the other major labels to follow its lead in dealing with Napster. No price was announced, but $4.95 [was suggested] as a hypothetical example of a monthly fee that might be charged for the service." A press released dated February 20, 2001, suggested that the there would be two kinds of subscriptions, a basic membership (between $2.95 & 4.95 a month, limited downloading), and a premium membership (between $5.95 and 9.95, unlimited downloading) and that as much as 1 billion dollars could be paid in the next five years to the major labels.
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° Rubrique About The World