So, file-hosting, ‘digital locker’ site MegaUpload has been shut down by the Feds and smart people are worried about the implications of that.
Whilst it would appear that the odious US political bills SOPA and PIPA have been momentarily stopped from turning the internet into a no-go zone by making the idea of remixing, mashing-up and developing new content from established intellectual properties essentially illegal, this Thursday’s closure of MegaUpload suggests that the Governments of the world are still serious about cracking down on sites which flout international law in order to allegedly facilitate piracy on a massive scale.
Whilst the MegaUploads and RapidShares of the world have legitimate users who use online, ‘cloud’-type storage to exchange files legally and to facilitate their international businesses more easily, there’s many, many more users employing these sites to download albums, game files and DVD rips without ever thinking too much about the people who they’re ripping off.
Which obviously sucks – it’s hard to weep too much for the heads of record companies and film studios when they’re quoted in news stories about the evils of intellectual property theft, but I do feel for bands, indie film makers and game developers who now have an immensely tough time to try to forge a career when they can’t make any money from record sales because their potential audience are heading to a digital locker or torrent feed to get their music, movies and games for free.
If you have a political or ethical beef against the major labels and big studios of the world and don’t want to give them your money that’s perfectly fine – I don’t go to see Fox movies in cinemas and have as little to do with Rupert Murdoch’s media arm as possible – but don’t punish bands, artists and creative folks by ripping them off wholesale. Find a way to get the stuff that you love which doesn’t end up hurting the artist (who is usually the party in all this who gets royally shafted).
If you’ve downloaded a song online and enjoyed it, why not actually do what many people pretend to do and then download the actual version from iTunes, Amazon or one of the many internet music stores? Give the band some money for putting out art that spoke to you.
In fact, if you can, go direct to the artist and buy a shirt, CD or other piece of merch and give them cash to allow them to keep on creating art and making a living at it. It’s not that hard to do and, in this age of increased access between fans and the people who create art, the gap between the two has never been smaller.
The iTunes of the digital ecosphere are by no means perfect, but piracy is a lot worse.