20 January 2012
Ladies and gentlemen. In lieu of my more light-hearted pieces, for once I'd like to address a serious issue.
If you're not already, please get up to speed on the bullshit that's currently attempting to crimp its way through the American justice system - to bills: the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the Protect Intellectual Property Act (PIPA):
I'm no pirate, but these ambiguous laws, if passed, will see the end of the Internet as we know it, both the bad parts AND the truly wonderful parts. This won't just affect the USA either, this'll have serious ramifications globally, both cultural and economic.
We need to make it clear that as a species, we will not stand for the global suppression of free speech and the systematic invasion of privacy that these bills would result in. The creative industry - and I speak as one of their number - need to learn that the onus is on *them* to pursue breaches of copyright, not on governments, internet service providers or individual websites that, as a by-product of providing a useful service to the masses, inadvertently enable pirates to go about their shady business.
It's like attempting to win the war on drugs by banning the wearing of shoes. It hurts everybody.
Intellectual property owners already have more than enough power - they have the ability to have a British citizen extradited to New York for breach of copyright. Isn't that enough?
The question we should be asking ourselves is this: why should we be forced to give up one of the great achievements of humanity - and yes, I rank the internet up there with landing on the moon, sliced bread, Firefly and the wheel - just because of a few douchebags use it to serially avoid paying for things? Should we give up language just because Scottish people swear a bit too much? Should we give up singing because of Nichole337? I think not. Censoring or banning these things hurts everbody. And if the creative industry want to go running to Daddy-government because tracking down pirates is 'too haaaaard!' then fuck them, the lazy pricks. I feel almost ashamed to be associated with them.
If you, intellectual property owners, would like to coax us, the consumers, into buying your product - make it worth buying. DVD extras, the experience of the cinema, additional but non-essential content for video games - I can go on. If they don't want to put the effort in, we must show that we won't tolerate the childish tantrum that SOPA and PIPA represent.
Pressure your bosses to pressure their bosses until the company you work for takes a stand against it, even if they have no internet presence whatsoever. Local representatives, Facebook, Twitter, your local newspaper, national newspapers, pubs, clubs, dives, squats, bedsits, kitchens, bars, hallways, lecture theatres and living rooms everywhere, get talking about it. Let's stand up for ourselves, and demand that the internet - in all it's majesty and depravity - be left exactly as it is.
Because ultimately, the internet reflects us as a society. Perhaps if governments focussed on tackling society's problems, then maybe we can set about solving the internet's problems too.
Oh yeah, and DVDs that I've bought or rented legitimately - don't fucking tell me that it's illegal to download this product. I know! That's why I bloody bought it!!!!!! YOU JERK!
Also some may recognise echoes of Jim Sterling's rant on the Escapist - I not only realise but openly admit that I am simply conforming to Jim's request at the end of the video. It is intentional, I make fuck all money from this blog and please don't sue me! Kthnxbai.
Written by Ross