Don’t let them kill the internet

Copyright infringement and online piracy is a complex issue. Unfortunately, current “anti-piracy” legislation before congress labeled SOPA/PIPA is like using a sledgehammer to perform surgery, when the patient isn’t even sick. Media producers flourish in an ever-expanding online world of content and consumers. Government/Corporate censorship of the net will only harm free speech.

Large media corporations don’t see it that way. Their business model is being altered beyond their control. I have some personal experience with being pirated. Longtime readers may recall my post about a CD release of music I was part of in 2009, Beyond the Portal, on the Lotuspike label. We hoped the music would make a connection with listeners, and sales of the CD would rise. Profit! But, a few days after release, somebody sent me a link to our music on a pirate site.
You could download it online for free.
CDs by Skip Murphy and Craig Padilla
Contacting the label, they said nothing could be done about it. Sometime later, after my initial dismay, I noticed something important about the pirate’s remarks where they shared the music. The “pirate” was a fan. He/She posted the music along with some nice words about it, wanting to share with others. That struck me as important. Our fans want to share our music more widely. Yet by doing so, they defeated our traditional business model. When your fans act enthusiastically on your behalf, and that wrecks your compensation plan, the problem isn’t your fans, it’s the plan.


Other, more clever artists have found ways to succeed and thrive in a world where fans share content widely. Nine Inch Nails comes to mind. They give away tracks on their site. Radiohead. Comedian LouisCK recently self-released his new DVD online knowing it could be easily pirated. He charged just $5, and asked politely that people respect that. He sold over one million dollars worth of downloads in just a few days. I bought a copy. He figured it out.

All this is bad news for (some)record companies, (some)movie studios, and other often superfluous middlemen. Their business model is altered forever. But those moneyed corporate entities still have clout with politicians, whose votes are too easily bought. SOPA and PIPA legislation are the result. Bad policy. They want a return to their old model where they profited from distribution, in an era when distribution is instant and almost free. They are willing to trash the internet to get their way.

Having my music pirated, and also having seen my published blog photographs used without permission, I have more than a little sympathy. Like I wrote at the top, it’s a complex issue. But there area already laws in place to protect intellectual property rights. The greater good is the open web, and the free interchange of information and ideas. Without that, we seem destined for a 1984 Orwellian future. This issue is important to you and to our society. Don’t let government/corporations censor your internet.
https://www.google.com/landing/takeaction/
Censor the internet

This entry was posted in Opinion and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *