Response Essay to Who is This Man, and Why Is He Screaming?
The lines between personal property and public domain are becoming increasingly blurred as more people become connected by the internet. In her article, the main point Rachel Kadish makes is that, “If your face isn’t private property, what is?” (Kadish 262). She is referring to the self portrait of her cousin, Noam Galai. After he uploaded the picture to his Flickr account, it was then downloaded by tons of people, who represented the work in ways he hadn’t intended. Some even sold T shirts and prints of the picture for their own personal profit. Theft of digital property is nothing new on the internet, and for some reason, stealing data doesn’t really feel like stealing. Ever since the invention of the internet, people have been downloading illegal copies of games and programs. The point is, it’s very hard for anyone, even corporations, to maintain control of the distribution of their data.
Digital media in the form of music, pictures, and videos can be created much more cheaply and easily now, so many more people are uploading their own intellectual property to the web. Sites like YouTube, Facebook, and Flickr of course are hugely popular, with millions of people visiting them every day. Most people make their uploads available to the public, too. That means anyone can come along and access this media and download it, then use it however they want. That is just the nature of things on the internet, and perhaps some people don’t realize the implications of uploading media they assume will remain relatively private.
In addition, Rachel Kadish says that “There’s something glorious and terrible about a world in which a picture of one’s face can sweep around the globe this way, part of a human chorus changing us for better or worse” (Kadish, 262). Indeed, it is true that the internet tends to have almost as many bad things as there are good. People in real life are constrained by their face to face identities. This can have some negative consequences. However, there are many great things about being pretty much anonymous. Individuals often voice their real opinions and honest confessions that they are not able to in real life. This is probably because people don’t perceive the digital world with the repercussions of reality, that opens the door to a rather unique environment. Many different communities on the internet have been created where free and open discussion on important matters takes place, things such as major world events, politics, music, art, and philosophy.
In the end, Noam seems to be happy for how much exposure his picture has gotten. It is a good thing that people continue to openly share things they have created. Had he not posted that picture, the only person to see it would be Noam himself, and the world would be missing out on something great. Even a meaningless song or funny video can brighten someone’s day. The more ideas and art and information are shared and experienced by people, society will progress.