I was planning on putting my two-cents in about SOPA today when I saw the news that Congress has put the bill on hold for now. The bill’s opponents have won this battle but the war is long from over.
I work in Hollywood and I see and deal with the issues of piracy all the time. My paycheck and job security has the potential to be directly impacted by declining sales of videos and streaming content. There is a problem but this bill was a poor solution.
Sometimes I wonder if the people who draft these onerous bills ever stop to see the big picture, to really think things through. Although the intention of the bill was never sinister, there were many sinister implications that could be the outcome if it have been made law. This bill gave the accuser far too much power for a country that prides itself on the notion that you’re “not guilty until proven otherwise.”
Some people make their living online, writing and creating content. Others create fun new things from existing properties. A good friend recently made some really cool mash-up trailers which have become very popular. This one was viewed by over a million people:
My friend made no financial gain but did get some exposure for his talents. Both properties got promoted for free. I see no harm in this, but if either copyright holder decided this was theft, it would have been yanked from the net immediately.
There is a fine line between theft and creative expression and that is where the conversation needs to be directed when attempting to create any new legislation that would affect the internet and its content. Who is impacted and how exactly? What are we really trying to protect?
We’ve effectively stopped something we don’t want, but if you were creating original content that could be stolen, what do you think would be a fair amount of control to protect your property? This is what people need to call or write to their representatives about now. Since we are the ones being subjected to the laws, we should make more of an effort to try and interject what we think is a fair and tolerable solution for all parties involved.
It can’t be a free-for-all but it shouldn’t be on lockdown either. What is that middle ground that creates the greatest good for the greatest number?
The copyright holder of this film (Downfall) tried in vain to have these parody videos taken down but they have taken on a life of their own. I wonder how many people actually sought out the original film after seeing one of these. Many who would have never seen or heard of it otherwise, I imagine. Here’s the latest one regarding SOPA and I think it sums up the problem perfectly.