The effort to perpetuate culture, knowledge, and whatever else we store on certain media is not the only reason we need to consider an imperative to copy. I read today that Michael Moore’s new film has spread through the peer-to-peer networks. This news doesn’t interest me so much as the point being made about why this may inadvertently have been beneficial to his efforts.
According to the article I linked above, Moore says “We took measures a few weeks ago to place a master copy of this film in Canada so if they did take our negative we would have a duplicate negative of this film in Canada.” He’s referring to his concern that the US government might confiscate the film since a portion of it was filmed in Cuba, which is essentially off-limits to American interests.
Moore is calling attention to the fate of the singleton copy. Obviously, without other instances of it, we’d have little to no chance to take-in what it portrays (one’s taste for whether that’s good or bad is not the point). Rather the politics and special interests that might prevent a copy from being exposed to the public or perpetuating itself are constantly at work as sister forces to the destruction brought by time.
As the article reports, Moore’s film (perhaps not by his own intention) survives this fate through the Internet’s means of replication. Digital media, with its special capacity for being copied and distributed (even through artificial boundaries) prevent the film’s disappearance. Once it’s free and the interest is there, the information gets propagated, surviving forces that would otherwise erode it in the waters of Lethe.
As an aside, my last post on mass replicability along with this one are carrying me toward a larger point. I’m slowly working on it. Actually I think it has something to do with Heidegger.