“I bet I can make a few bucks/dinars/pounds/rupees/etc. before the army rolls in!”

Fellow journalists, let me introduce you to a miraculous little website called alibaba.com. It’s a Chinese business-to-business portal that is bigger in sales than all the other ecommerces sites you know. Combined.*

Here is what you get when you search Ali Baba for “Anonymous mask.”

If you still think those are authorized by Warner Brothers, you may be beyond help.

So why isn’t WB cracking down on all this terrible counterfeiting? Because it’s not counterfeiting. Guy Fawkes masks have been worn in Britain for Bonfire night and thereabouts since the 18th century, and sold regularly up to the 1980s. There were many variations, but they were all similar to the one used by Alan Moore, who grew up with them in Britain?—?the one used eventually in the movie. Warner Brothers doesn’t own the Guy Fawkes mask. It only owns its line of Guy Fawkes masks. Intellectual property is insane, but fortunately you still can’t own the right to depict a historical figure.

What makes this argument even more idiotic to me though is the idea that consumers are somehow morally bound to a supply chain they never had a choice in. I’m pretty sure those other masks are not made by little protest fairies, they are probably made, like most things in our lives, by some combination of robots and humans other humans have chained to tables. The idea that we can’t critique this system because we have to use the tools this system built to critique it is ahistorical and incoherent.

Read More | “Hypocrisy, Anonymous, and Activism Policing” | Quinn Norton | Medium