Watching the argument over online piracy unfold in the US is like watching chimpanzees drive a car. They fight over direction but they don’t give a crap if they take the rest of us off a goddamned cliff with them.
Here’s my problem with both sides in this Greek tragedy:
SOPA = stupid
If it passes, SOPA will be a total failure:
- It’s written by a Republican congressman who, as near as I can tell, doesn’t own a computer. The guy violates copyright law on his own web site. Dude. Did you even know you had a web site?
- It’s being pushed by big companies who don’t get it. This isn’t going to help you guys. You need to rethink your strategies, retool your businesses and get serious. We’re not going back to the days of Sony Walkmen. Deal.
- If I’m a pirate, and SOPA passes, I just start turning and burning domains, giving away content until they get shut down. And of course
ICANNGodaddy will be more than happy to sell me all those domains.
- If it passes I’m personally going to set up at least 1000 sites with photos of Lamar Smith’s head attached to an LOL cat saying “I’m a horse’s ass! Buy Diet Coke!” Just to keep things interesting.
- If I’m an individual who already thinks ‘music should be free’ then I’m clearly suffering from some kind of dementia. So I’ll ignore SOPA anyway.
Which brings me to the part where I piss everyone off.
Content shouldn’t be free
There, I said it.
Everyone seems to think they have a right to free music, free movies, free books, whatever. Well, you don’t.
Someone worked to create that stuff. They deserve to be paid. I used to think this was a price thing: That if record companies and movie studios and publishers sold their content more cheaply, everyone would adjust. But I was wrong. I know that now because people bitch when companies like Spotify restrict their free streaming service in an attempt to get people to pay for the better premium subscription.
The premium subscription costs $9/month. If you listen to 20 songs in a month, you paid $.45 a song. That’s a fraction of the cost of a CD. You’re going to steal music to avoid paying $.45 for a song?
Stealing is stealing. If you take content from someone (including a blogger like me) without permission, you’re not stickin’ it to the man. You’re not fighting repression. You’re not making a political statement. You’re a thief.
If you’re a geek like me, I know exactly what you’re going to say:
“I want the artists to get paid. It’s the big greedy music/movie/media companies I don’t like.”
Funny, because SOPA supporters will say:
“I want individuals to get their content. It’s the big greedy pirates I don’t like.”
Make a real statement
Go oppose SOPA. It’s a terrible piece of legislation. If Thomas Jefferson saw it, he’d slap the authors in the face and send them back to law school.
Then, make a real statement. Support companies like Spotify, and Hulu (yes, I know who owns Hulu), and indie ebook sellers. Those guys are the only ones who are really working to fix this. Make them super-successful and watch what happens.