>> Wednesday, January 18, 2012
The down side to going on strike is that one is almost honor bound to
cough up a new post after the strike is over or the strike doesn't mean
Unfortunately, the reason I'm not blogging much is sadly still in force and I wasn't sharp enough to come up with a really good topic, but the strike provides one.
I admit it. I've heard the sort of "anti-piracy" legislation's goin' to ruin the internet noise every several years since I first wandered on to the internet. It usually came to nothing for the very good reason that legislating anti-piracy instead of addressing the reasons behind the piracy has yet to work. In the long run, it always fails because the underlying problems aren't better.
When my father first bought a laserdisc player (back in the early 80's), laserdiscs (not to be confused with DVDs) cost $10-30, could be readily copied (but why bother?) when video tapes were running $90-200 a piece for the rental market. Laserdiscs looked cleaner and nicer. Players were expensive, though, and still riddled with bugs. Movie makers were already whining about copyright infringement and copying and piracy at the time. Laserdiscs might have caught on; it was the perfect situation for them to take off until those making laserdiscs thought "Hey, these folks are connoisseurs; they'll pay more not less for movies" and doubled the prices while those making tapes said, "Heck, I bet we could sell these to regular people, not just rental stores, if they weren't so stupidly expensive." Movies started coming out $10-20, laserdiscs went to $20-50 (and then extinct just as DVD's burst on to the scene) and, what do you know, the general public started making video sales as big or bigger than ticket sales.
The lesson seems obvious to me, yet the book vs. ebook industry is doing it again. Just like the music industry did before they started offering mp3s at reasonable prices. You want $0.99/dollar, the consumer will stop buying it because it can be readily found elsewhere at a price that's closer to the value. Crank back the greed and the incentive for something illegal dries up.
Clearly, the industry is not learning quickly.
Still, I was not really getting involved. I didn't think either bill had a high chance of passing (and I feel even more strongly so now), but, I admit, when I saw Wikipedia planning to go dark to protest it, I did more research, enough that I thought it worth my while to put in my two cents.
I'm all for people who own intellectual property making a profit on it. But, offering anyone the opportunity to shut things down without due process strikes me as a dangerous precedent. And it won't change the piracy, but simply turn it in another direction. Until the underlying issues that drive the piracy are corrected, it WILL continue. Meanwhile, turning on watchdogs for the rest of us - well, I like my internet now. I don't want someone screening it beforehand unless I want someone to screen it (and those options exist already). SOPA timeline, participant list, etc can be found here.
And that's the way I see it.
Update: (Wow, that was my 400th post here)!