The cultural impact of the Trump election starts here

 The longterm impact of any election is cultural.  iuThink of JFK, who legislatively was a useless president who couldn’t get any legislation passed (Johnson did it for him after Kennedy was assassinated) but who looms large in the universal consciousness because of his inspiring speechwriters.
President Obama, regardless of what happens to his now doomed health program that he sees as his legacy, will live on as the first black President, a glass-ceiling smasher.
It is because of an intuitive understanding of the cultural impact of the presidency that parents who despise President-elect Trump are now agonising about what to tell their children about his election.
 
Peter Thiel, founder of Paypal, told the National Press Club how the gay magazine The Advocate, which earlier praised him as a “gay innovator,” declared he was “not a gay man” because of his libertarian politics. “The lie behind the buzzword of diversity could not be made more clear,” Thiel said. “If you don’t conform, then you don’t count as diverse, no matter what your personal background.”
Peter Thiel, founder of Paypal, told the National Press Club how the gay magazine The Advocate, which earlier praised him as a “gay innovator,” declared he was “not a gay man” because of his libertarian politics. “The lie behind the buzzword of diversity could not be made more clear,” Thiel said. “If you don’t conform, then you don’t count as diverse, no matter what your personal background.”

Trump too will have his cultural impacts. Time will decide which of those will be the most important, but Michelle Malkin has already identified one important Trump cultural effect, which is responsible for his election.

This is absolutely right:

“…one of the most important cultural accomplishments of Donald Trump’s bid will be the platform he created for Americans of all colors, ethnicities, political affiliations, and socioeconomic backgrounds to defy soul-draining identity politics.”

Michelle Malkin
Michelle Malkin

Read Ms Malkin’s entire article.

Every time I read something by this Michelle Malkin, I like her more.

Andre Jute is the author of AN ELECTION OF PATRIOTS, a novel andre_jute_singaporewhich explains who sold out highminded media discussion of policy to television soundbitery, smears,  and bias, and IT’S THE ECONOMY STUPID, a Rhodes Scholar Education in One Hour, among many other books.

Now Paypal tries to grab the copyrights of artists, writers and photographers, free and forever

Paypal has sent out notice of an Amendment to their User Agreement (1) that will grab without recompense the copyright of any “content” sold through Paypal.

I’m not a lawyer but a contract I drew up for my Australian publishers was for many years recommended by the British Society of Authors and used on both sides of the Atlantic, and the chapter in my textbook WRITING A THRILLER (A&C Black, London, St Martin’s Press, NY, translations into Spanish, Italian, French, etc, still in print after a generation) was never once queried. So, if the Paypal amendment answers to plain English and means what it says, it’s an unprecedented rights grab.

If the “content” that Paypal intends to claim rights over is just the promotional copy and graphics in the advertisements of sellers, one can understand that Paypal’s lawyers want to cover their ass and avoid a nuisance suit.

But Paypal isn’t just claiming rights over specific promotional material, it is claiming rights over the very bread on the table of millions of writers and painters and photographers. Not only will Paypal not pay for the use of this copyright material, there is absolutely nothing in the agreement to stop them selling someone’s copyright product for profit.

Worse, the agreement that gives Paypal every artist’s life comes into effect automatically on 1 July 2015 unless you explicitly opt out. “You do not need to do anything to accept the changes as they will automatically come into effect on the above date.”

The “content” that Paypal will claim rights over includes the text and images, the very product and livelihood of artists.

paypal_rights_grabSuppose you’re a novelist. Of course you post a sample chapter to your netsite where you also have Paypal buttons. That’s “content”. It now belongs to Paypal to publish wherever they please. The rest of the novel and even the characters now belong to Paypal: that’s the parenthetical “including of works derived from it”. No serious publisher will want a series when you’ve given a gorilla with clout like Paypal a licence to interfere in the market at will. Amazon went into TV and film production; what’s to stop Paypal following them? With your intellectual property as Paypal’s capital.

Suppose you’re a painter. You show a photograph of an artwork for sale. Normally you either reserve reproduction rights in the art to yourself, the artist, or it goes explicitly, contractually to the buyer. These reproduction rights, which include all photographs, including the one published with a Paypal button next to it, are often more valuable than the physical painting on the wall. But, because you posted the photo to Paypal as an advertisement, Paypal can republish the photo at any time, or sell it to the greetings card industry and pocket that income. Check it out: it says nowhere in Paypal’s agreement that Paypal can’t do this.

The risk is total if you’re a photographer, because control of  the photograph and all its reproductions is your very product, directly the bread on your table. If Paypal has a perpetual free right to publish the photo, why should a stock company want to license it from you? For that matter, would you want a stock supplier to use Paypal when you know that every photograph they show (and how will they license the photographs to graphic designers if they don’t show them?) automatically belongs to Paypal as well?

This is a grotesque case of lawyers covering their ass by throwing in the kitchen sink, without ever stopping to consider whether they shouldn’t first put their minds in gear.

Paypal appears to know there’s something wrong. They say: “Should you decide you do not wish to accept them you can notify us before the above date to close your account (https://www.paypal.com/uk/cgi-bin/?&cmd=_close-account) immediately without incurring any additional charges.”

No additional charges — that’s real generous!

Now Paypal will claim that all this is being done to protect them against chancers bringing frivolous law suits, and against sellers using stolen copyright materials. If that is so, then Paypal should say so in their agreement. Instead Paypal simply grabs everyone’s rights, and takes a bullying “like it or fuck off” attitude about it.

Next Paypal will claim that they are a huge, honorable institution, in the money markets, and have no intention of trading in your copyrights. Yeah, right, ten years ago Jeff Bezos couldn’t even dream of entering the movie business.

Any institution is only as honest as the men in the boardroom. Copyright is an artist’s pension. Do you want to entrust the comfort of your old age to some unknown person, perhaps not even born yet, who will then be in charge of Paypal, and perhaps has dreams of being in the “moom pitcher bidness” with the rights, unpaid for and nothing due, of your copyright as his earnest money? Or have the owners of Paypal sell out to new owners whose primary interest is “monetizing all these copyrights the old management just sat on”?

I didn’t think so.

Copyright © 2015 Andre Jute
No Paypal buttons anywhere!  Free for republication as long as the piece is complete and includes the copyright notice and this permission.

(1) Here is the text from Paypal being discussed above:

Amendment to the PayPal User Agreement.

  1. Intellectual Property

We are adding a new paragraph to section 1.3., which outlines the licence and rights that you give to us and to the PayPal Group (see paragraph 12 below for the definition of “PayPal Group”) to use content that you post for publication using the Services. A similar paragraph features in the Privacy Policy, which is removed by the addition of this paragraph to the User Agreement. The new paragraph at section 1.3 reads as follows:

“When providing us with content or posting content (in each case for publication, whether on- or off-line) using the Services, you grant the PayPal Group a non-exclusive, worldwide, perpetual, irrevocable, royalty-free, sublicensable (through multiple tiers) right to exercise any and all copyright, publicity, trademarks, database rights and intellectual property rights you have in the content, in any media known now or in the future. Further, to the fullest extent permitted under applicable law, you waive your moral rights and promise not to assert such rights against the PayPal Group, its sublicensees or assignees. You represent and warrant that none of the following infringe any intellectual property right: your provision of content to us, your posting of content using the Services, and the PayPal Group’s use of such content (including of works derived from it) in connection with the Services.”

Is the Paypal/Smashwords “banning” of rape, incest and bestiality censorship?

Any publisher can choose what he prefers to publish, or not to publish. I’ve read the mail from Smashwords on this (for some reason Mark Coker didn’t send me a copy of his round robin letter, and I had to read it on a blog advertised on Indie Authors International) and to me it sounds like Smashwords is relieved to be able to make the decision once and for all, and to blame it on Paypal.

Now, everyone knows that I’m absolutely the maximum champion of freedom of speech, the one indivisible liberty, that I gave up a perfectly good motherland, and a seven-figure income, and the security of my family, for the principle of free speech.

But this light breeze in a chamberpot isn’t about freedom of speech. Nobody is stopping anyone from publishing smut with their own skills, their own investment and at their own risk.

What this is, instead, is a commercial money collator, Paypal, deciding that they are vulnerable to action by political pressure in the global village, and therefore they will no longer extend their service to publishers of the more questionable strands of smut. Such publishers are free to use another collator.

It just happens that Smashwords is so integrated with Paypal, they’d fall down flat without Paypal.

Smashwords effectively had to choose between a few of the more extreme smut merchants and survival. They chose to meet their promise to the 99% of their clients. It’s clearly the only practicable course, and it wouldn’t be difficult to make a case for it as the principled choice.

Next we’ll hear a lot of rubbish about great literature being suppressed. We can expose that instantly by simply asking who is making that silly case, and evaluating their work on the smut-literature scale. If we find any worthwhile writers, qua writers, I’ll you know. Don’t hold your breath. We should be a little careful here. My contempt for the writers of smut doesn’t mean that in a case where they were genuinely deprived of free speech I would not stand up for them (I’ve stood up for the free speech of far less appetising people because it is always the principle that matters); it merely means that this isn’t that occasion.

Or we can look at the history of literature and ask them to supply us with a single work of literature that was actually, provably, suppressed for erotic content. They can’t provide one. (The one good book notoriously suppressed for decades,  Scenes From Provincial Life by William Cooper, was suppressed by fear of British libel laws, nothing whatsoever to do with erotica.)

It’s nonsense to think for a moment that this Paypal/Smashwords alteration in the terms of service to exclude books of titillation about rape, incest and bestiality is censorship. For censorship to appear here, restraint of trade must first be proved. It can’t be, not in this or any other similar case. Paypal and Smashwords don’t say, “You have no right to publish,” they simply say, “Do you mind publishing elsewhere.” That’s their inalienable right. They don’t owe anyone publication.

Case dismissed.