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Reddit Cofounder, The Band’s Ex-Tour Manager Debate SOPA, Antipiracy, And Levon Helm’s Legacy [Video]

From a Fast Company post from a few months ago, an interesting debate between Reddit’s Alexis Ohanian and USC professor Jonathan Taplin (who is now attacking anti-IP artist Nina Paley, as noted by Mike Masnick in Why Do The People Who Always Ask Us To ‘Respect’ Artists Seem To Have So Little Respect For Artists?). Ohanian is great here, explaining how innovative solutions like Kickstarter and the willingness of creators to adapt to changing times and technology are a better solution that taxes and regulation. At the very end of the second clip, an audience member and Taplin try to trap Ohanian by saying that his position on music would imply he would be in favor of pirating or “stealing” the food produced by farmers and giving it to customers for free. He rightly points out that music is nonscarce, unlike food, but that if food were nonscarce—if you could “copy” a carrot and feed lots of people without taking the carrot away from the original farmer—then sure, he would be in favor of this kind of piracy. Fantastic! So many people are starting to “get it” these days—they recognize that copying, learning, sharing information, and competition are good, not bad; but of course, on the other wide, we have the gatekeepers and legacy oligopolists clinging desperately and with state help to their old models, and causing collateral damage as they thrash about in their death throes.

Reddit Cofounder, The Band’s Ex-Tour Manager Debate SOPA, Antipiracy, And Levon Helm’s Legacy [Video]

BY Austin Carr | 04-19-2012 | 6:11 PM

At Fast Company’s Innovation Uncensored conference, things got heated between Reddit and Y Combinator’s Alexis Ohanian and USC professor Jonathan Taplin, director of the Annenberg Innovation Lab, former tour manager of The Band, and friend of its drummer Levon Helm, who died the day after this debate.

On Wednesday, at Fast Company‘s Innovation Uncensored conference, Reddit cofounder and Y Combinator ambassador Alexis Ohanian squared off against professor Jonathan Taplin, director of the USC Annenberg Innovation Lab and former tour manager of The Band. The debate–which covered everything from antipiracy to SOPA to the current state of the movie and music industries–was vigorous, to say the least, with both Ohanian and Taplin passionately arguing their positions.

Lots has developed since the debate. First, Ohanian published an open letter to Taplin, in which he pushes modern solutions to problems between artists and the business models they rely on–in particular, he suggested The Band get back together for one more release. Then on Thurdsay, The Band’s drummer Levon Helm, who became a symbol during the Innovation Uncensored debate for the harsh realities of the music industry in the digital era, died.

We’ll publish Taplin’s response to Ohanian’s suggestion (which was, again, written before Helm’s passing) on Monday. And if the two want to keep the discussion going, we’ll keep providing the forum. In the meantime, catch up on how this all got started with videos from Wednesday’s debate below. The debate really heats up after opening statements, about 11 minutes in.

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