Today is the SOPA blackout, when sites like Wikipedia and Reddit shut down to protest the Stop Online Piracy Act and the Protect IP Act. These acts, which were driven by massive donations to the Internet-stupid Congress by the Internet-stupid MPAA, are designed to wipe out online piracy, like, FOREVS. Since the attempts to stop music piracy wound up destroying the music industry, I think we can see where this is going. I am not a lawmaker, or an expert in lawmaking. I am not an expert in Internet things (I'm proud of being able to post the above widget, for example). I cannot state with any fact the amount of money piracy has taken from MY pocket, but as someone who marched with a Goddam sign for several months back in 2007, I know what it's like to make what turned out to be a rather feeble attempt to protect my intellectual property.
That didn't work out too well, by the way. Just take a look at who gets the most chunk of change from sales and rentals. Take a look at whose paychecks are bigger. And then look at who's really serious about stopping piracy. A hint - it ain't the actual content creators. The notion of a massive corporation thundering about intellectual property is beyond weird, especially in this age of remakes and sequels and the crushing of originality. Obviously the entertainment business is a BUSINESS that couldn't exist unless it made money, but come on. These guys aren't stupid. They don't honestly and truly believe that SOPA is going to STOP PIRACY. Only dumb old Congress believes that, because they are ignorant patsies and lovers of campaign contributions. But the MPAA and the studios probably fall to their knees every morning and thank the gods that Congress is such a bunch of dumbasses. Fortunately they had evidence of that before, back when Congress voted to authorize the invasion of Iraq.
People are starting to crowdsource. Content creators are raising their own money and making their own movies and television shows. They're bypassing the corporate tangle of publishing to publish their own books. And this is all happening because of the Internet. So if you really imagine that the MPAA is going to allow content creators to use this Internet to make their own movies and television shows, you are sadly mistaken. SOPA is their gambit, their effort to assert control. "It won't affect me," you say, because you have never pirated anything. Sure, tell that to the people who got socked with million-dollar lawsuits even though they didn't steal a Britney Spears song. Everything is rented. The Cloud is NOT the great idea it's presented to be because your content can be taken from you at any time. ANY law that pretends to be For The People but that is this vaguely restrictive can be tightened around our necks, one byte at a time, until we are ALL considered criminals.
Piracy is never going to be stopped, and we should just accept that. DRM certainly didn't stop it. Instead, DRM pissed people off and made them not buy things. Remember the Sony rootkit? Yeah, good times. We are living in an age where you pay a bazillion dollars for cable, and then the cable companies take channels away from you, stick them in other packages, and make you pay even more. We're living in a time when we can instantaneously watch something, yet these monolithic companies want you to wait months to watch British shows. FOR NO GOOD REASON. It was bad enough when cable and satellite providers (but especially evil, evil cable HI TIME WARNER WHASSUP) were divvying up service areas. But now they're divvying up CONTENT. I don't mind paying for what I watch, read or listen to, but I strongly resent the Sophie's Choice way they're screwing us.
How much more would you pay if you could choose your programming a la carte? Why won't they let us do that? Think about THAT for blackout day.
And now, some blackout day links for you: