My views on SOPA/PIPA
I know no one cares about my personal views on many subjects, but this is one I can’t leave alone without sharing first.
I work with technology constantly. I was born and raised in a time where I remember cassette tapes and saw their evolution into MP3 players and how music is nothing but bit and bytes stored in multiple places today.
I watched the rise and fall of Napster. I watched iTunes become the prominent platform for music purchases. I watched TVs go from tubes to flat to Plasma to LED. I have watched computers become smaller, faster, better. I have seen floppy disks evolve to 3 and 1/2 inch disks then going to CDs, and then flash drives and to DVDs and to Blu-Rays.
I have watched the demise of print as a viable medium of information for my generation. I have watched cellphones that once were bricks now act as small computers.
All of this, and countless other advances in technology sit on the idea of the Internet. The idea that I can send, share, download, upload, find, research, read, listen, watch, post, like, comment on, reply to, update, add and subtract to anything on the Internet.
The Internet was first created so professors could SHARE information. Information that inherently belonged to their respective institutions, however, they knew at that time that sharing information allowed for a larger public discourse about the information.
SOPA/PIPA looks to curb online piracy. This is in a year when record sales have gone up for the first time since 2002. Movies continue to costs millions and make millions on ticket sales, DVD sales and products sold in unison with the movies.
But what SOPA/PIPA could ultimately become is a kill switch to websites.
Currently, if a website such as Youtube is hosting material that infringes on copyright law, the person who posted the video in liable for any fines or charges. The site is not held accountable for material that infringes on copyright.
Under SOPA/PIPA, websites would be held accountable for ACCUSATIONS OF INFRINGEMENT, and would be shut down accordingly.
There is a lot wrong with that, and I am certain I hardly have to go into details to further progress the point I am trying to make.
The one thing I keep coming back to is this, the Entertainment industry thinks it is a massive contributor to the Internet. It can be, when done correctly. Sites like Netflix and Hulu leverage the Entertainment industry in order to provide content for the Web users.
However, the Entertainment industry continues to stifle innovation. They dump millions of dollars into Congress, just so they can get their way, a dying way.
These are the death knells of giants. The Entertainment industry is lazy. They don’t want to innovate. They don’t even want to evolve their products they are selling. Shitty music and shitty movies are the same now as they were in the 60s. Shitty.
People who download torrents of whole albums or movies are still going to do this. China censors its Internet, the outcome of that? Some of the best hackers in the world, and they are concentrated in one country. Why? Because when government builds walls, the people will dig wholes. And when the government pours concrete in the ground, the people will build wings. And when the government builds turrets to take down flyers, the people will use dynamite.
Instead of attempting to box people in, the Entertainment industry should allow for innovation. It should welcome change, and the Internet.
The Internet helps original and creative content. For instance, “The Hurt Locker,” which won Best Picture at the 2010 Academy Awards, was the lowest grossing movie (at the time it won) to ever win an Academy Award for Best Picture. It was also one of the most illegally downloaded films. Think about why it was downloaded first.
The film was constantly in limited release, so unless you lived in certain locations you may have never seen the movie. This allowed for public hype of the film, and allowed for the those who did not download it, an attempt to listen to their peers. Once this dialogue occurs, people are more likely to buy/go see certain entertainment.
Did it hurt it? Sure, but DVD sales put the movie into the green for revenue, and the movie cost around $11 million to makes, grossing a theater total of $13 million and grossing a DVD total of $35 million.
Thus, drawing a profit (excluding marketing, packaging, and distribution costs) of $37 million. Taking into account the expenses, it would wind up making around $15-20 million (estimate).
So, one of the highest illegally downloaded movies of 2010 made a good bit of cash. Could it have done better with SOPA/PIPA? Could it have done worse with SOPA/PIPA?
There is always a bump in sales for Best Picture winners. That accounts for some of the sales of DVDs for this example. However, the downloading cannot be ignored as a contributor to the spread of word about this or other types of entertainment.
So, what do you do? Do you shut down websites because they allow for this kind or thing to occur? Do you embrace it and watch your company go bankrupt because you give away everything for free?
Or do you innovate? Do you create, as oppose to destroy? Do you build growth, or do you stifle competition, simply because you have more money than the common man? It is funny, those who claim to have busted their ass to get somewhere in life, simply rest on the laurels of days gone by. They shouldn’t have to innovate, or create anything anymore. They can just throw money at the problem. They just become content and lazy.
That is my biggest issue with SOPA/PIPA. It makes an industry that is so vibrant, so amazing, become so God damn lazy.