1. #SOPA & #PIPA are Bailouts

    The film, television and music industry have long complained about piracy, even before the internet was ever around. Since it’s arrival, they have hated and feared it as it quickly eroded their business model. Instead of adapting in a way that would allow the internet to work for them, they have decided to ask for a “bailout” to protect their outdated system. Yes, it’s a bailout, and here’s why…

    First, I’d like to note that is only my opinion, It’s hardly scientific, and I’m sure there are holes in my theory… that said, I find this to be an interesting viewpoint and I want to explore it.

    Congress != Internet Savvy

    Anyone who has been watching the PIPA and SOPA debates on C-SPAN (there are like 3 of us that actually watch that) will remember how the Senators debating these two bills seemed to gleefully joke about how little that they know about the internet, cracking wise about who “was the biggest nerd”. As an actual nerd, it was shocking and downright disturbing to me that Congress could be passing a law that they had absolutely did not understand.

    Now, it may come as some surprise to you, but Congress often creates legislation that the senators have little knowledge of– in-fact, they rarely are involved in these issues until they are brought before them by — you guessed it — a lobbyist. Once the lobbyist has introduced the idea, they then are also involved (either directly, or indirectly) in crafting the bill — the senator approves it, and introduce it for debate.

    How is this a Bailout?

    The MPAA* and RIAA have long been involved in various legal attempts to restrict piracy. Due to limited results with that approach, they are now attacking the internet, head on via legislation that they believe, would stop piracy.

    They have mounted a huge campaign that claims that piracy is costing America jobs, and is destroying our economy — all without providing any real proof. In addition, they have decided that in order to restrict piracy, they must construct bills that are essentially “nuclear options”. They have helped craft bills, without a real understanding of how the internet works, and without consulting the people (nerds) who actually understand the internet.

    First, let me say that I do not approve of piracy. I don’t like it when people steal music, movies, and other people’s work. However, there are many strong arguments that point out that piracy exists, not because people can’t afford to pay, but rather because of draconian copyright laws, and restrictive business practices that make it harder for people to legally obtain the TV and music media.

    The newspaper industry went through this a few years ago. People didn’t want to have a paper delivered to their doorstep, they wanted to read online. The industry reacted slowly, and suffered. This should have been a clear warning to the TV & music industry — but apparently they weren’t awake; because they’ve decided that even though people want to enjoy their music on their mobile devices, computers and other new technology, that they want to stick to their outdated model of doing business.

    Since the RIAA / MPAA have decided that they want to go the sleazy route, and try to prop up their member’s businesses with laws that restrict growth on the internet, censor its users, and threaten the stability of one of the only vibrant parts of our economy, we must continue to fight any attempt for bills like SOPA and PIPA to pass.

    * I am referencing the MPAA and RIAA in this article because they represent the industry; and while they support SOPA and PIPA, I am not positive that they are the direct lobbyist for the bill — though that is likely.