http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20111115/15040016780/sopaprotect-ip-would-be-hideously-bad-video-gamers.shtml (this talks a lot about how ineffective the law is, it’s not just about gamers)
Just think. If the SOPA and Protect IP laws were passed, I could have just shut down Tumblr and DeviantArt all in one posting. Behold my power.
I don’t think this whole Stop Online Piracy Act and Protect IP act isn’t quiet the sky is falling madness you keep hearing about. I think it’s something far, far worse.
From what I understand, the real problem with this law is that it is so vaguely defined and loosely worded that just about anyone is a target. I’m willing to bet you over a million links to some how copyrighted material went up today on just Tumblr, much less Facebook, Youtube, etc etc. These companies didn’t put them up themselves, obviously. What makes all of these sites so important and so valuable is the ability of anybody to join the conversation, to be exposed to new things, new ideas, new art, new music. I’m not about to sit here and talk about how the internet is what’s going to fix our fractured culture. Far from it, honestly. But I also know that the picture above would be highly illegal if this law passes. And by all rights Disney, who owns Marvel Comics, as well as Sony, who has rights to Spider-Man, could sure as the sun rises in the east put a stop to the cashflow the owners of Tumblr require to keep the site going. In fact, one of the truly corporatocracy moves in the bill is that Sony could just hand them a piece of paper and get the money to stop, no need to involve the law anymore. Not only that, but the fact that the services are stopped until proven innocent in what could, realistically, be years of litigation, is also in direct contrast to the whole “innocent till proven guilty” line in that constitution we’re supposed to hold so dear.
But here is where I think this is going to get really, really ugly. I doubt the MPAA is going to seriously sue Tumblr out of existence. Tumblr has the money to fight back, costing millions in a case that could, concievably, set a precedent for a judge not upholding the new law for a variety of reasons. However, the next time a couple of kids get together in their dorm rooms and launches a site or program such as Myspace, Facebook, Youtube, Napster (more on this later), the MPAA, RIAA or anybody else who owns anything can absolutely intimidate them out of business, creating a stagnate enviroment and destroying that competition all these free-market Neo-Classical economics liars seem to hold so dear.
And there you have it. This law is insanely ineffective in stopping piracy, as detailed in an article above. All it does is create friviulous lawsuits against startup companies. I tried to find it, but I believe the entertainment industry is something like 5% of GDP, which is obviously arguable as define the “entertainment industry”. The technology industries are the ace in the whole that this country has in a changing global economy. I didn’t even come up with that, I read it all the time. If this is a purely good for the money makers law that they’re considering, it seems like stopping the innovations brought about by American social networking sites, American video sites, American music sites, blogs, websites, art websites, the whole lot of it is in trouble. Like I said, not because the internet is going to die next week. But because the minute a new idea comes along, it’ll get sued out of existence long before me or you ever hear about it.
Which brings me to Napster. We all know what saved the music industry a few years back. iTunes. And that’s great, good for Apple and Steve Jobs and whoever else. And I have no problem paying for my content, I pay for it all the time. But the idea of digital distribution of music didn’t start in a boardroom, it started in a dorm room. Shawn Fanning, John Fanning and Sean Parker are the ones who figured it out. This is the true form of innovation. Steve Jobs just stuck a logo on it and had the resources to pay the royalties. Myspace and Facebook were started the same way. Just today I was listening to undergroundhiphop.com’s radio, and heard new music by new artists I’d never heard of, and the first thing I did was go and check out their tour dates. If the next time I go record shopping I see an lp by any of these artists, I’m sold. And I know this logic breaks down the minute the RIAA says “well, people stole 43820 quadrillian albums last year, we lost a number so big in profits it has 843 zeros in it!”, but I also think that is highly suspect. I have tons and tons of music, movies, games, etc that I would never really pay for.
And if they REALLY wanted to make sure those starving artists who’s creative genius’ they ride all the way to the bank continue making money, I suggest they drop all these lawyers they’ve got on retainer and give the money to the real talent. I get that downloading albums is stealing, and that stealing is wrong. I really do get it. But aside from the incredible ineffectiveness of this law to stop any of that, this is just another bill, bought and paid for by lobbyiests that ultimately harms the free exchange of ideas. We’re doing it to ourselves.