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Thursday, January 19, 2012


Among the many, many reasons I'm angry about the Stop Online Piracy Act

...is this one:

I depend on copyright for my livelihood. To pay my bills, I need there to be some copyright laws that protect my ability to earn money by working at the thing I can do.

So thanks a whole bloody bunch, SOPA, for turning copyright into such an instrument of oppression that a lot of people are going to hate me for this.

Artists need copyright to survive. We do not need copyright corrupted and misused to the point where we're at risk of a backlash.

We need reasonable copyright laws. Reasonable ones, not this imperialist crap.

Classic technique isn't it -- to set the "plebs" on each other so they snarl and tear out one another's throats.

SOPA and PIPA were not about protecting the actual individual artists it is about protecting the rent-seeking opportunities of corporations.

John Scalzi (with his president of the SFWA hat on) JOB is to protect the rights (and income) of writers and HE has been very vocal about the fact that neither bill would do so.

They were, however, attempts to set audience and writer/artists against each other.

The thing is, I don't think individual artists would benefit from SOPA and PIPA. The people it would benefit are the people who, as you point out, make a living off the work of artists - and if the writers' strike proved anything, it's that the studios aren't exactly wildly respectful towards a writer's stake in their own work. But I'm not hopeful about this important point being remembered in the chaos that will follow...
I am on Senator Al Franken's email list (not sure how that happened, but I don't mind). He's a former comedian/actor and writer who is now in the Senate. For the record, I think he's one of the two or three smartest senators. May be the smartest--it wouldn't surprise me at all.

His email said basically the same thing your post here said.

Initially, as someone pointed out, the line-up was something like "those against SOPA/PIPA were those who actually understood the internet and those in favor were those who didn't, really." And who of course wanted the big checks from the Motion Picture Association of America and other such lobbying organizations.

Apparently, the outcry has shifted a bunch of senators into the "no" column. I wish I could say it's because they understand the problems and will now work on a responsible bill.
Unfortunately, this shift against copyright is exactly what is already happening in reaction. People are up in arms over the fact that the U.S. government shut down MegaUpload shortly after the SOPA blackout, complaining that this is censorship. Considering that this website is specifically about pirating material, shutting it down is distinctly not censorship. Honestly, I'd much prefer the government shut down specific websites that they have to prove exist for the sole purpose of hosting pirated material than pass incredibly over-broad laws that allow shutting down websites that have any pirated material.
(Apologies for lack of apostrophes and line breaks, the keyboard is acting up again.) The shut-down of MegaUpload actually upset me quite a bit. I have never used it to pirate anything--but I have used it to upload stories for test readers and to download amateur games. It does not surprise me that the sites owners were using it basically to get rich off piracy, but shutting down the entire site without attempting to distinguish between legitimate and non-legitimate use was overly drastic.
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