Respect Yourself: Interview with the Web Sheriff
STORY BY: Duncan Cooper
This is a pretty long interview but Britain’s Web Sheriff is a pretty weird thing: an artist-hired, sometimes clandestine but always incredibly personable copyright enforcement agency that continues to leave a very real mark on art on the internet, probably differently than forces before them. The dumbest way of looking at the world is like it’s not changing, and the practices of the Web Sheriff reflect a really smart way of dealing with that: in the words of John Giacobbi, the company’s founder, they engage illegal-file-uploading music fans directly “to turn the perceived negative of anti-piracy to the positive function of viral marketing.” Leveraging essentially well-intentioned criminals for unpaid advertising is incredibly creative and maybe scary, but definitely something that we find, as people who download a ton of stuff, worth thinking about.
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