Archive for January, 2012

The problem with SOPA and PIPA

Wednesday, January 18th, 2012

I would go black today in protest like many other sites… but I don’t think anyone would really notice! 😛 Mwahaha…

I did however, want to put in my two cents on this whole SOPA/PIPA debacle that is still unfolding. As it affects the internet and the movie industry, I felt it was apropos to post something. I just copied and pasted my little verbal diatribe from my FB page earlier this morning… so, it suffers from sever lack of editing…

 

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Remember VCRs? Back in the day both Jack Valenti of the MPAA and the whole of the movie industry were scared of those things. They felt that it would be far too easy for someone to sit at home and just pirate copy after copy of any movie they wished. They thought that the VCR would be the death of the movie industry.

“‘I say to you that the VCR is to the American film producer and the American public as the Boston strangler is to the woman home alone.’ Jack Valenti said this in 1982 in testimony to the House of Representatives on why the VCR should be illegal.

Of course, Hollywood soon learned how much profit could be had from this new technology, they just had to learn to adapt to it. With the advent of videotapes and then DVDs, they opened new avenues for more revenue.

So it is with SOPA and PIPA, a ridiculous over the top reaction to a new technology that frightens and threatens the status quo. Many artist and filmmakers have learned to adapt and thrive in this new arena. Louis C.K. just made around $200,000 by charging $5 for his latest standup show.

I am not saying that piracy doesn’t happen, or it isn’t and issue or problem. However, cassette tapes and CDs did not kill the music industry. VHS tapes and DVDs have not killed the movie industry. Yes, the internet makes it easier to acquire your favorite music or movies or tv shows, but if the entertainment industry would realize that they have yet another untapped revenue stream here, things might change for the better on both ends. Look at Netflix, or Hulu or iTunes. I believe that most people would much rather pay a fair price to watch or own something (preferably DRM free!), than go through the trouble of downloading a possibly corrupted, third generation VHS digitized version of some movie they loved as a kid.

Look, I don’t think Gwyneth Paltrow, James Cameron, or the heads of Warner Brothers are in any serious danger of getting kicked out of their mansions and forced to live in cardboard boxes. If anyone is hurt by piracy, it will be the independent film makers, and the actors who are waiting for their big break. But SOPA is like operating on a cancer with a sledgehammer when a scalpel is the right tool for the job.

To simplify it… SOPA would be like having a neighbor in your apartment building back in the 80s who owns one of Jack Valenti’s dreaded VCRs. This neighbor decides to start making copies of his favorite movie and handing it out to his friends and family. Not only would he be arrested if caught, but also so would you, and your other neighbors, and the landlord could be held liable as well for allowing your criminal neighbor to rent space in his building. Even though everyone else in the building was unaware of what this guy was up to.

Again, sorry for the rant. I would like to partly blame this on the amount of coffee I consumed this morning. I have had a lot of time to think on this. It may be rambling, all over the place, and rife with grammar and spelling mistakes, but I feel my intent is clear. All I am saying is there has to be a better way. Do we really want lawmakers who are willfully and happily ignorant on tech issues, voting on such important matters? Do we really want to hand that much power over to anyone to censor the internet as they see fit?

There are ways you can get involved with this issue if you feel as strongly as I do:

http://americancensorship.org/

http://voteforthenet.com/

Sorry for the break!!

Sunday, January 15th, 2012

It has been quite a while since I have posted here. I have had some very interesting times of late, but I want to get back to posting here more often. So, to start off… here is something neat for those Monster families who carpool:

 

 

Check it out here!