While I’m not an advocate for online piracy, I understand why people illegally download music, videos and software online. Digital media can get quite expensive, especially when consumed in large quantities. The Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) has been heavily debated in Congress over the last few weeks with both sides taking heavy stands for and against the proposed law that would attempt to stop online piracy.
Don’t get me wrong, I happen to prefer buying my digital media through the official channels:
- I subscribe to Netflix, where I watch the bulk of my movies.
- I buy movies on demand through Amazon Instant Video.
- I buy my music through iTunes.
- I listen to online music services such as Pandora and my ultimate favorite, Spotify.
- I use open-source or free versions of software whenever possible, but I buy software when absolutely required.
Whenever I buy software, I always shop around online for a smaller company that may be offering a comparable software solution at a lower price. For example, I bought a program called NitroPDF to handle all of my PDF creations. I have learned to hate most Adobe products. In my opinion, they’re way overpriced and that leads me to the point I’m trying to make:
Digital media companies are greedy.
Yes, they are quite greedy and they want to use the power of the federal government to continue lining their pockets with gold. I completely understand that recording artists, actors and software programmers all need to get paid for their work. Heck, I’m a digital artist in my own right and I charge for my work, so it’s only fair.
Did you know that the VCR was the downfall of the movie industry and caused Paramount to go out of business? Or how about cassette tapes? They were a curse on the music industry, leaving thousands of recording artists like Madonna homeless and barely living on the streets. And I shutter when I mention software which could be easily duplicated via CDs. Those round devils ultimately led to the collapse of Apple and Microsoft. Each of these innovations caused the loss of millions of jobs, the closing of several major companies and were a threat to our national security… Wait a second…? Online piracy may be the “newest threat” to some people, but it’s nothing new. I hate to break it to you, but piracy has been around for decades.
Companies that are promoting SOPA want everyone to believe that they’ll go out of business if piracy is allowed to continue. I’ll let you in on a little secret – that’s nonsense. Big media companies and industry advocacy groups with consumer-sounding names are pushing ill-informed lawmakers into believing that censoring the internet is a good thing. They’re trying to use various scare tactics to make you believe that there is a dingo ready to steal your baby.
Filtering the internet the way our lawmakers see it is an impossible task. In fact, the whole idea behind the internet was to build an infrastructure with multiple points of access and storage so that information would always be available, regardless of attack. Our government’s notion that they will somehow be able to police the world wide web and under the guise of “consumer protection” is ludicrous.
The far-reaching powers proposed under SOPA will lead to censorship and abuse on a scale that our world hasn’t seen since the days of Adolf Hitler. He burned a lot of books and we all know how that turned out for him.