Tag Archives: SOPA

What he said…

Giant Bomb’s Jeff Gerstmann on the central issue affecting content providers, via Reddit.

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ACTA is the new SOPA?

Now that the internet has calmed down a bit about anti-internet legislation SOPA, should we all start worrying about ACTA instead?

ACTA Demotivational Poster via Very Demotivational.com

If you’re not up to speed on your legal challenges to a free, unregulated internet, ACTA is the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement and purports to do as its name suggests and enforce the regulation of intellectual property rights in signatory countries.

This proposed legislation won’t be debated fully before the European Parliament until June,

but a prominent MEP has already resigned, citing behind-the-scenes manoeuvres by officials preparing the agreement for his reticence to participate in a debate which, it seems, is less of a debate and more of a signed, sealed and delivered mandate which doesn’t really resemble democracy or the practice thereof by my understanding.

Of course, one might argue that a 14-year-old kid firing up a sweet Torrent client and illicitly downloading the new Drake album or a dodgy copy of the new “Sherlock Holmes” is engaging in a form of anti-democratic activity which is ultimately far more harmful to musicians, producers, record labels, CD pressing plants, distribution companies, retailers and a myriad of inter-related interests and we should be doing something about that, but I digress…

Colours nailed to the mast, I feel that we need to allow musicians to make a living from making music.  I’m not at all certain that SOPA and ACTA do anything more than bolt the stable door long after the prize pony has made a run for it, but if they do anything, they might just set some alarm bells ringing in the heads of folks who use the internet and don’t think twice about downloading music without, y’know, paying for it or even thinking about the implications of what they’re doing.

Lots of people in the world are finding their respective economies tough to deal with and I absolutely understand that – things like entertainment are a luxury which many people have to think twice about before paying out money for, but a dubious downloaded file isn’t an answer and only ends up screwing over a singer or band who’s at the bottom of a long line of music industry people who get paid long before the artist does.

I’m damned if I know what the answer to this problem is – we have a generation of kids now who don’t view ‘owning’ a physical copy of music or a film as being at all relevant to them and I think that’s partially what terrifies the established entertainment businesses because they can’t keep marketing new media formats to a demographic who regard their product as being ephemeral and not something that they need to have access to on a long-term basis.  If you get your tunes online, via a phone handset, why do you need to have shelves of CD’s which you might rip once to a hard drive and then never look at again?

So, if I’m reading this correctly, the whole problem with copyright is a generational one and as long as that divide exists, there’s no good solution to it beyond some entrepeneur coming up with a service which gives the kids what they want, gets the suits their cut and somehow doesn’t screw over the creative types either?

Good luck sorting out that problem…

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MegaUpload shut down by The Man – not before time?

It won't stop piracy, but will it make people think about the value of entertainment?

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.

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