The following presentation from Victoria Sheckler, Deputy General Counsel of the Recording Industry Association of America, was presented at an International Federation of the Phonographic Industry meeting in Panama in April 2012. It contains information on an upcoming effort by internet service providers to police their users’ sharing of copyrighted material called the Copyright Alert System. The presentation also discusses other voluntary measures such as agreements by payment processors to stop doing business with sites that are “repeat offenders” and efforts to encourage domain name registrars to enforce stricter “whois” policies.
Jonathan Beller in his book The Cinematic Mode of Production (2006) speculates on the valorization of attention within post-Fordist economies. Whether it is watching commercial television or being tracked by Google analytics, human attention transformed into a form of labor and has been commoditized and circulated through capitalist media in order to extract surplus value. The nature of current sensory regimes can be attributed, in a large part, to this quest for the extraction of surplus value from human attention. The intensification of sensory experiences via the media is not a natural process that develops from cultural and technological pressures, although those factors play into it, rather it is the extraction of surplus value from human attention that drives the increasing intensification of sensory experience in the media particularly the use of violence.
Beller locates fundamental structures of the attention economy in the forms of cinema although he uses the term attention economy to encompass media from film to television to the internet, the roots of the attention economy lie in the cinematic form. It is within this context that I see Michael Haneke’s film Funny Games as a critical intervention into the attention economy and its sensory regimes, particularly as it applies to the practices and reception of media violence. Haneke’s film constitutes a critical disruption of Hollywood’s sensory routines and cinematic conventions that channel the viewer’s attention and make the consumption of media violence not only “pleasurable” but also a form of value producing labor within the attention economy.