Extra Credits: SOPA & PIPA

This week, we give a (somewhat belated) criticism of SOPA and PIPA.

Recent Comments:

  • It's just that artists, writers, musicians and game developers still need to make a living.

    The big media corps aren't much better at this than the pirates are unfortunately. Other than the odd mega-star-of-the-month that comes along whenever the current top40 sales start slacking. The vast majority of that CD purchase you just made goes to the various levels of distributors. The artist gets almost none of it (which is still better than actually none, but only slightly).
    Ok, how does that invalidate the concept of intellectual property?

    It doesn't at all. It just highlights the fact that the current implementation of intellectual property has been deeply corrupted from its original purpose of providing creators an incentive to create.

  • Pirates Anonymous?

    I don't really see Anonymous as being a positive force for change. I actually disagree that the internet needs anonymity as a shield (Gabe's Internet Fuckwad Theory, etc) and while it's pretty goddamned amusing to see people get kneecapped when they fall victim to hubris, a lot of the time they're pretty childish about it.

    And I don't really see how anyone can sympathize with piracy. Yes, piracy is often an indicator of a poor method of service but I still don't see it as justifying theft. And, yes, piracy is theft, no matter how you color it.

  • We don't have a piracy problem, we have a private property problem.

  • We don't have a piracy problem, we have a private property problem.

    Honestly, we have both.
    Pirates Anonymous?
    I don't really see Anonymous as being a positive force for change.

    That was an AA joke. Nothing to do with Anon.

  • Well, put it this way: I just saw a Bill Maher commercial about a live show streamed from Yahoo when he said "It's totally free, because if it wasn't, you'd find a way to download it illegally anyway".

    Furthermore, we already have the DMCA. Ever tried downloading porn and either in the forum, you get a message saying "Post removed due to complaint of copyright owner" or when you click the link to go to rapidshare/filesonic/depositfiles/what have you, you get a message saying "this file was deleted due to copyright complaints"?

    What more do you want? If the developers/distributors/whatever want control over where their property goes, well, they can go and track that stuff down themselves. You cannot put the onus of monitoring user activity on those that start middle-man content-sharing sites. Yes, some material will undoubtedly be copyright-infringing. But you cannot humanly expect that all of this is able to be monitored by flesh and blood people. In 48 hours, youtube receives 8 YEARS of content.

    See, this is the new reality we live in. No longer are we bound by scarce real estate and scarce shelf-space and scarce plastic CDs. Anybody with a cracked game can upload it to a file-sharing hub or seed the torrent. Laws are already in place (even if they shouldn't be) to attempt to give IP-holders some way to make the infinite scarce. But they are unenforceable. IMO that's what our legislators need to come to terms with--trying to create laws to combat piracy will have so many secondhand overreaching consequences that it would be like cutting off the nose to spite the face. If the risks of certain types of websites are too great, the innovation will be driven out of the country.

    Clay Shirkin gave a great talk at TED on this which basically stated: not only are we consumers, but we are also producers, and this scares the living bejeezus out of the big entertainment execs, because they actually have to compete for our eyeballs. At the heart of this IMO is simply the fact that big content producers and distributors want to try and stifle ways for small nimble start-ups to take away their viewership by imposing absurd regulations.

    After all, why should I, for instance, purchase a subscription to say, Playboy, when there are indie models out there who are more beautiful (AND HOW!) than the dreck in say, Playboy or Hustler, who are simply trying to get fans? I shouldn't. It makes no economic sense for me, and nor does it make any economic sense for most people out there.

    At the heart of this is simply that all this new legislation isn't an attempt to curb piracy, it's an attempt to stifle competition with burdensome regulations. The MAFIAA doesn't care if its labels don't get pirated--the MAFIAA simply cares that its labels get sold. Does it matter whether they don't receive revenues because A) we don't consume their dreck because of the long tail economics of the internet or B) because we pirate it? Nope. It doesn't. All they know is that they're losing money and influence, and they want to put the technological genie back in the bottle.

    Frankly though, I just wish that Google and wikipedia would go on a crusade to use their power as central hubs of the internet to influence elections in their favor a bit more. As of now, 94% of the time, the candidate with the biggest war chest wins elections, and if I had to choose an overlord, at least the people at Google know how to get things right.

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