>> 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 anything.

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)!


  • Roy

    Well said! And congratulations on your 400th post.

  • soubriquet

    "Intellectual" and "property", well, the MPAA may have property but precious little of it is intellectual.

    The gripe about the crap hollywood peddles aside, I wonder how many of us remember the early seventies. You know, we had music back then. And then music died altogether. Back then there were people who made music, performed it, recorded and sold it, and we all bought these flat, round, black vinyl things called records. Yes, there was a recording industry, people made money and had jobs, and the spinoff was that kids learned to play, people wrote songs and music, and a whole tranche of the population enjoyed it.

    Now of course, 2012, music is just a faint memory, something your grandparents talk about. Nobody plays, nobody sings, nobody records. I admit, I was part of what killed music forever, I failed to heed the recording industry's warnings of the consequences of what I did back then. I bought a cassette recorder. I borrowed records and, gasp, I copied them! I even recorded my own, so I could play them in my car, or take them to college...
    Oh those terrible days when the record companies took out adverts saying "Home Recording is Killing Music!". We ignored them. We fought against them when they demanded that the record facility be taken out of the players, and eventually it happened. All those poor musicians went bankrupt, and record execs had to give back the limos and go begging in the streets. The instrument shops were boarded up, concert halls closed down, and the government set up degaussing machines to erase all the tapes, stomped on the vinyl. There was no money in it any more, so babies stopped crooning, mothers stopped singing, builders ceased their whistling.
    No more music.
    Home taping killed it, back in 1976.

    And now, if SOPA doesn't pass, it will happen to movies too.

    A friend of mine, not even a bona-fide card carrying, qualified and licenced actor said to me one day "To be or not to be, that is the question." I smacked him hard in the mouth, I was so angry.
    That's the sort of thing that killed Shakespeare.

  • Stephanie Barr

    Thank you, Soubriquet.

    I was badly in need of a chuckle.

  • History Doc

    I agree, with everything. Rare, I know.

  • Shakespeare

    It's nice to see you blogging... and I have a friend's blog that might interest you. He actually says he doubts any "rocket scientists" will be reading his entry on antipodes.

    Since I actually KNOW a rocket scientist, and I thought the topic engaging, I thought I'd let you know.


  • Stephanie Barr

    I can't believe you pointed me to a math problem at this time of the morning.

  • soubriquet

    Holy shit! You're.... You're "Shakespeare's Sister"!!!!

    (Collapses in a fit of unseemly giggles, might have to post a Shakespeare's Sister song....)

  • Stephanie Barr

    It's not like it's a secret, soubriquet.

    We're hardly interchangeable (as in our personalities and interests are largely polar opposites) but we get along swimmingly 'cause she's smart and wonderful and talented. And she doesn't hate me.

    And I, or our siblings, have the advantage of not hating her. And I occasionally make her laugh.

  • Stephanie Barr

    By the way, the report of *my* Shakespeare's death have been greatly exaggerated.

    Though nice to know your defending Shakespeare's intellectual property.

    (I'm trying to remember if I even recall any music before 1976. Of course, I was only nine years old... Apparently, I missed music altogether.)

  • Stephanie Barr

    Must MUST start proofing my own comments.

    Though it's nice to know you're defending Shakespeare's intellectual property.


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