Friday, January 20, 2012

SOAPA/PIPA and Wednesday's Blackout

Posted by Youtube user: TheAlyonaShow

So as you may have noticed, much of the Internet went "dark" Wednesday in protest of SOPA and PIPA, two bills set to go before congress and the senate that are, according to the entertainment industry which sponsored them, meant to be an attempt to curb online piracy of copyrighted content in other countries. As someone who once intended to create art for a living, and someone who still hopes to turn intellectual property into a source of revenue, I've got a lot to say about all this. So it looks like we'll be doing the "theme" thing again after all. But I can sum up my over all feeling about SOPA and it's ugly bastard cousin PIPA, fairly simply: it's all bullshit.

The truth about both bills, as seems to always be the case these days, is that both pieces of legislation WILL HAVE the exact opposite effect of what they claim. They are designed to stifle creativity, innovation, and free speech, to cripple independent artists and more importantly, the entertainment (old media) industries biggest competitor and otherwise soon to be replacement, the the Internet(new media). Because the independence provided by the Internet allows an artist, not only the freedom to create what they want, the way they want, and for exactly the audience they want, but the ability to actually get paid for their efforts without having to financially rape their audience to do it. Simply put, old media really is hemorrhaging money. But not because were stealing their precious content, because we, along with the creators they used to enslave, are generating our own, and making them obsolete.

Don't get me wrong, I think piracy is bad and if you support it, you should stop. Not because you're hurting the industry, fuck the industry. You should stop because the artists and performers you love, even the one's you may already perceive as rich and successful, are already getting screwed by the industry as it is, as they always have. Which is why so many of them have turned to "new media"; and if you're not already, you should be rewarding them for that. And because art and personal expression, as well innovation, all grow and progress most successfully when given the ability to do so freely, while still protecting the rights of the creators. In other words, no copyright restriction is just as bad as too much. Government intrusion into your life, on the other hand, is always bad. And giving the old media empires the ability to call on the power of the justice department to protect it's product, even in the name of an infraction as minor as simply linking to a page that contains unlicensed material, is far from providing the copyright holder reasonable protection, and opens the door to a host of further restrictions and intrusions into our lives that none of needs.

SOPA, PIPA, censorship, and the regulation of the Internet, it should go without saying, are all complicated issues. Issues that I can't even hope to fully inform anyone about in a month's worth of blog posts, much less a single entry, and really isn't my place to try. like you, I'm just some guy on the Internet who doesn't want to see the freedom and opportunity it provides us hobbled in the name of control. All I can really do, is share my personal opinions and interpretations and encourage you, if you haven't done so already, to take the time to actually read and understand as much of these bills and the clones that will follow them, and the consequences such regulations will have, as you possibly can ( and the above video isn't a bad place to start). Because, while Wednesday's protests were enough to knock a few supporters of these bills and push voting on them back a few weeks, they will return, and others will take their place. Because the government wants to control information, what you see and hear and how, and old media wants to do the same to preserve their bottom line, and they're working together to achieve that goal.


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