On My SOPA Box

See what I did there?  Ha.

Been reading all I can find about this, still don’t have a firm grasp on it.  It looks like the Motion Picture Association (Through Chris Dodd) is the organization really pushing for this, as “pirated” DVDs are apparently eating in to their profits.  I’m unclear as to how this legislation will stop people from stealing copyrighted material.  You can shut down portions of the web, I suppose, but do we close down a hwy because someone is standing on the road selling fake DVDs?  Sure, artists and their “representatives” have a right to protect their work, but this proposed legislation seems hurried and poorly crafted, and there is no agreement on possible unintended consequences.

In the end, legislation prompted by special interests didn’t stop the proliferation of VCRs, or DVRs decades later.  So I have my doubts whether or not any attempt to police the web will have much effect on sharing (even for profit) pirated material.  That horse, it would seem, has left the barn.  Like people trolling the seedier parts of town in search of contraband, there are just too many digital back alleys through which virtually anything is available if you know how to look.  Already, the youngsters in my community know where to stream television shows not available to them through traditional TV sources.  There is a kid around here who rents movies from Netflix, copies them, and makes them available to friends.  I don’t condone the practice, but my point is that it doesn’t take expensive equipment or specialized training to take advantage, almost anyone can do it.

I’d like some feedback from artsy types out there who might stumble across this and have an opposing viewpoint.

Edited to add this:

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5 Comments

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5 responses to “On My SOPA Box

  1. I am not of the ‘artsy” type by any means, and I am almost afraid to put in public print the following, for fear the SOPA agents will appear at our front door—–but I see no problem with an individual copying a song onto an IPOD of an 8 yr old. It is not used for sale, or to pass around, merely a song now and then . And the artist is losing Nothing—-an 8 yr old would NOT be out buying the song with any ITUNE card anyways. So that is my 2cents worth, and if you do not hear from me again, I hear that CUBA/GITMO is nice weather this time of year.

  2. A lot of artists are ambivalent about the “pirating” (that’s not, technically, what’s going on when you copy and distribute information of any sort). Otoh, they would love to get the money; otoh, they reach much larger audiences than they would if they depended on the A&R people and the radio stations. There are people who come to play at the local NFP music venue that nobody ever heard of before Utube.

    It is, as always, the suits who are angling to make it a SERIOUS crime to STEAL that which they’ve stolen (in many cases) from the creator of the work.

  3. Great post! My friends and I used to share our vinyl records so we could record them onto cassette tapes while laying on our stomachs in our bedrooms hoping the dog wouldn’t bark and ruin everything. We didn’t know it was criminal. Times have changed.

  4. Maggie Conigliaro-Nguyen

    I consider myself to be the artsy type…..well banker type to. Anyway I am completely opposed to copying an artist and I think any legislation that gets passed to stop this is worthwhile. The time, heart, and soul that would go into their art gets robbed because it depletes their income. I believe they have a right to make an income off of their talent. I consider myself to be a talented painter…..should someone not pay for my painting? I then no longer profit but rather it becomes a loss for supplies. However, I agree with pberg2P if it is a non famous indiviudal than copy away. Isn’t that the reason why they posted anyway. To be seen, heard, and exposed. I’m done now….thanks for the outlet. Hope all is great with you!!!!!

  5. Maggie! Great to hear from you. I agree that indiscriminate copying and selling for profit is theft, but if a gallery hung a picture that they didn’t know was copied off of someone without consent, would you punish the whole gallery? Further, should people be expected to pay every time they look at your painting? The bill was poorly written, way too broad and gave corporations too much power to control web content. We have anti-piracy laws already, but, much like the drug laws, they are difficult to enforce.

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