I was vehemently opposed to SOPA, PIPA, ACTA, DMCA and all those nasty four letter acronyms, but something made me realize that it’s all pointless. Let them implement all the rotten legislation they want. The Internet was designed to be immune to nuclear warfare, it sure as hell will survive some politically misguided attempts to curtail it.
The more governments try to regulate the Internet in their own (or rather, their lobbyists’) views, the more inventive the Internet community will get to circumvent said regulation. It has happened before, and it will happen again. If the people thinking this shit up have learned nothing from Napster and Kazaa and BitTorrent and Usenet, I’m not worried. In the long run, they’re just shooting themselves in their feet.
A few days ago, the White House issued a statement in which they oppose SOPA and PIPA as they stand now, but also call upon the Internet community to “bring enthusiasm and know-how to [the] important challenge” of combatting online piracy. They just don’t get it.
Online piracy isn’t the problem, it’s just a symptom of an industry that outright refuses to acknowledge the fact that a large part of its business is no longer relevant. You see, the Internet has reduced the cost of distribution to the cost of bandwidth. There just isn’t as much dough in that as, say, treating your customers like shit and charging them big money for the privilege. Maybe they ought to start innovating, after all. To quote Nat Torkington:
We gave you the Web. We gave you MP3 and MP4. We gave you e-commerce, micropayments, PayPal, Netflix, iTunes, Amazon, the iPad, the iPhone, the laptop, 3G, wifi–hell, you can even get online while you’re on an AIRPLANE. What the hell more do you want from us?
The ball has been in the entertainment industry’s court for years now, and still they refuse to pick it up. It is 2012 for goodness’ sake. If you don’t let people pay for what they want, they’ll get it for free. And yes, you can compete with free, it’s called service. There’s massive value in that, and people are willing to pay. How many more examples is it going to take?
But hey, if these dinosaurs want to have it their way, why not let them? In the end, we’ll just decentralize and encrypt everything. Eventually, they’ll come begging for our money, and they’ll do anything to make us give it to them. We’ll see who has the longest breath…