Christian Heilmann

An open talk proposal – Accidental Arrchivism

Sunday, December 8th, 2013 at 3:19 pm

People who have seen me speak at one of the dozens of conferences I covered in the last year know that I am passionate about presenting and that I love covering topic from a different angle instead of doing a sales pitch or go through the motions of delivering a packaged talk over and over again.

For a few months now I have been pondering a quite different talk than the topics I normally cover – the open web, JavaScript and development – and I’d love to pitch this talk to the unknown here to find a conference it might fit. If you are organising a conference around digital distribution, tech journalism or publishing, I’d love to come around to deliver it. Probably a perfect setting would be a TEDx or Wired-like event. Without further ado, here is the pitch:

Accidental arrchivism

Gamer's guide screenshot

The subject of media and software piracy is covered in mainstream media with a lot of talk about greedy, unpleasant people who use their knowledge to steal information and make money with it. The image of the arrogant computer nerd as perfectly displayed in Jurassic Park. There is also no shortage of poster children that fit this bill and it is easy to bring up numbers that show how piracy is hurting a whole industry.

This kind of piracy, however, is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the whole subject matter. If you dig deeper you will find a complex structure of hierarchies, rules, quality control mechanisms and distribution formats in the piracy scene. These are in many cases superior to those of legal distributors and much more technologically and socially advanced.

In this talk Chris Heilmann will show the results of his research into the matter and show a more faceted view of piracy – one that publishers and distributors could learn from. He will also show positive – if accidental – results of piracy and explain which needs yet unfilled by legal release channels are covered and result in the success of the pirates – not all of them being about things becoming “free”. You can not kill piracy by making it illegal and applying scare tactics – its decentralised structure and its very nature of already being illegal makes that impossible. A lot of piracy happens based on convenience of access. If legal channels embraced and understood some of the ways pirates work and the history of piracy and offered a similar service, a lot of it would be rendered unnecessary.

If you are a conference organiser who’d be interested, my normal presentation rules apply:

  • I want this to be a keynote, or closing keynote, not a talk in a side track in front of 20 people
  • I want a good quality recording to be published after the event. So far I was most impressed with what Baconconf delivered on that front with the recording of my “Helping or Hurting” presentation.
  • I’d like to get my travel expenses back. If your event is in London, Stockholm or the valley, this could be zero as I keep staying in these places

Get in contact either via Twitter (@codepo8), Facebook (thechrisheilmann), LinkedIn, Google+ (+ChristianHeilmann) or email (catch-all email, the answer will come from another one).

If you are a fan of what I do right now and you’d be interested in seeing this talk, spread this pitch far and wide and give it to conference organisers. Thanks.

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