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The MPAA and RIAA's war on the Internet

Discussion in 'Small Talk' started by Doctor Oak, Jan 20, 2012.

  1. Doctor Oak

    Staff Member Overlord

    So, you probably can't have missed the drama this week in the MPAA and RIAA's war on the Internet. For those under a rock, though:

    The MPAA (Motion Picture Association of America) and RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America) had, until this week, been very successfully pushing two bills through the American legal system called SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act) and PIPA (Protect Intellectual Property Act). Both are vile pieces of legislation that effectively gave the two mega-corps the ability to shut down websites, both domestic and foreign, without due process on the basis of copyright infringement (at least, they'd say it was copyright infringment). For those that are still a little obtuse on the meaning of this, consider that if these bills went through, this - and every other fansite on the internet - could be shut down instantly without appeal or warning on the grounds of 'copyright infringement'. Not to mention legitimate sites being targeted just because they were unpopular with certain people in certain positions (Gee, I wonder if any of those sites would rhyme with icky weeks...).

    As I said, until this week, these bills were looking like sure things to pass. The mainstream media were ignoring them altogether and the right politicians had the right amount of money to make from backing it. Google was one of the main opponents to it, but Google is also one of the biggest targets on the MPAA/RIAA's wall, so their extended arguments in Congress over the bills were basically ignored.

    And then this week, the Internet fought back. It was mostly down to Wikipedia's mainstream power, if we're all completely honest with ourselves, but it got the job done nonetheless. Websites across the net 'blacked out' on Wednesday in demonstration of what an Internet under the MPAA/RIAA's rule would be like, and millions of US citizens woke up to the reality that they were being sold a bum deal in the name of some fat-cat bastards keeping their pockets well lined. And it worked. SOPA and PIPA became toxic policies, and the people that pushed them into Congress are now backtracking as quickly as possible to try and save face.

    But that angered MPAA/RIAA quite a lot. So they pulled the trigger on the nuclear bomb they'd been building up for a while now - nuking New Zealand based Megaupload in a spectacular shock-and-awe fashion. Their goal? To prove that they've still got the power, even if PIPA and SOPA weren't going to be there to make their jobs easier.

    The point was a show of power from the MPAA and RIAA. There's no coincidence that this happened 24 hours after SOPA and PIPA were effectively burned down. They're not interested in solutions, fixes or legitimate value - they're just interested in making sure that the world is well aware of the fact that they're the ones with the reigns in hand - mostly because those reigns are slipping more than ever.

    That's why they're more concerned with throwing their weight around getting shit shut down and extending their reach with bills like SOPA than actually investing in solid solutions like Netflix/Spotify/etc and cutting the beaurocracy that keeps material off those services (and worse, limits what's available where) and ACTUALLY fighting piracy (because who'd fuck around with the shit that is trying to download something of decent quality on Megaupload when it's cheap and easy to stream it on Netflix?). Piracy isn't the thing they're really afraid of - it's the services that offer a better solution for everyone, but makes organisations like the MPAA and RIAA irrelevant because they make their own digital distribution channel.

    What we really need to be fighting are those over-reaching, greedy organisations directly. They've had too much free reign because they can buy off all the senators and congressmen they want/need - but the SOPA/PIPA defeat was a chink in their armour (hence the angry retaliatory attack on Megaupload). It might be enough to begin turning the tide against them at least. If anyone's got the balls to go head to head with them, that is...

    There are really only two companies in the US that could go toe-to-toe with them and stand a chance. One of them supported SOPA (Apple, as if that's any surprise), but the other is likely to be forced to sooner rather than later. Now that Megaupload is gone, Youtube can only be considered the next target on the hitlist, surely?
  2. Shiny Pyxis

    Shiny Pyxis 2016 Singles Football

    Actually, I was discussing this with my mom the other day, and she seems completely pro-SOPA/PIPA even though she tends to pirate a lot of her songs. I don't think she, being as old and outdated as she is (not saying that all people 50+ aren't as cyber-smart or whatever as, um, me, but she definitely is), understood what she was saying; seemed like she was just stealing words from a friend of hers. Both she and my dad couldn't wrap their heads around the fact that companies like these could shut down, say, Megaupload.

    And coincidentally, I was talking about how this bill had the potential to shut off Youtube, too.

    I mean, I see the possible pragmatic reasons for passing the bill, but all thee string-pulling from behind the scenes that I'd been hearing about really dissuaded me from supporting it at all. We've had too much of stuff like that in my own community (like budget cuts on education... which is stupid), and I don't want an episode like that to happen anytime soon. But of course, government is corrupt.

    Until, as you put it, they try to save their own face when the public retaliates~

    A lot of thanks goes to our fellow forum member Tailon from me, since he was the one talking about this bill a month or so ago and brought my attention to it long before the blackouts and whatnot. Really, if it wasn't for him, I wouldn't have known about these bills until this week. ^^;
  3. Dwayna DragonFire

    Dwayna DragonFire 2014 Little Cup Champion

    I am completely against SOPA and PIPA for those exact reasons. It's all a scheme for the rich to get richer and line their pockets all the more for blowing their competition out of the water using pieces of legislation that most would call 'draconian' - but seeing as this is me, I'd say it's much worse than draconian.

    What the mega corporations don't realize is that through the power of the internet, movies and other content generated by them can become popular, even through a free means of doing so. If someone really enjoys a movie or a song, they can inspire people to actually go out and buy it so they can have it on hand instead of having to look it up on Google or YouTube. Sometimes these services have old videos or songs that you can't really find anymore, and the user generated content can help people find that sort of stuff.

    Not only that, but there are already measures that websites have taken towards people who go through with copyright infringement. YouTube is able to take down videos that people find are infringing on the rights of the person whom created the content in the first place. But sites like Google are specifically built for what they're fighting against: for users to find the information they need to get what they want. If SOPA and PIPA passed, no-one could find anything except for the sites of the people who want to line their pockets in that sort of endeavor.

    Also, Anonymous would not be happy, and we've all seen what kind of power they wield.

    EDIT: I think if those American associations tried to strike against YouTube, there would be a huge internet uprising. Including Anonymous... >>;
  4. As an obvious internetizen, I'm against this. All the arguments are so clear.

    I heard they already did something... I'm sure they did something in response to the Megaupload nuking.
  5. Doctor Oak

    Staff Member Overlord

    http://wilwheaton.tumblr.com/post/16246 ... icians-who

  6. Dwayna DragonFire

    Dwayna DragonFire 2014 Little Cup Champion

    According to Wikipedia, they did:

    On January 19, 2012, Megaupload, a website providing file sharing services, was shut down by the US Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. This led to what Anonymous called "the single largest Internet attack in its history". Barrett Brown, described as a spokesperson for the group Anonymous by news outlet RT, said the timing of the raid "couldn’t have come at a worse time in terms of the government’s standpoint". With the SOPA protests only a day old, it was claimed that internet users were "by-and-far ready to defend an open Internet".

    Brown told RT that the Department of Justice website was shut down only 70 minutes after the start of the attack. The attack disabled a number of websites, including those belonging to the Justice Department, the FBI, Universal Music Group, the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), and Broadcast Music, Inc. "Even without SOPA having been passed yet, the federal government always had tremendous power to do some of the things that they want to do. So if this is what can occur without SOPA being passed, imagine what can occur after SOPA is passed," Brown commented. Some commentators and observers have asserted that the FBI shut down of Megaupload proves that SOPA and PIPA are unnecessary.
  7. I haven't read a lot about SOPA and PIPA until the blackout day on Wednesday. This is because of the darn precalculus course eating all my time. :p

    As for the support, I am not in support of the bill. Yes, piracy is a bad thing because it is taking something of another's (even if the billionares heading those companies won't miss a few hundred bucks :p), but this is just far too encompassing a bill. The scope is ridiculous.

    As others have said, the Netflix expansion idea is great. It makes movies rather cheap and legal, and increasing options means increasing the customer base. It is a win-win for both sides of economics.
  8. Doctor Oak

    Staff Member Overlord

    Not true. Stealing, by definition, involves removing something in one person's possession and taking it for yourself - robbing them of that original item so that they can no longer use it/sell it on/whatever.

    Downloading a movie/book/music/game/whatever does not remove the original print from the producers, it does not take a physical product from a shelf so that it cannot be sold and it does not prevent further use/sales of that movie/book/music/game/whatever.

    The only impact it has is on the potential revenue lost as a result of someone then not paying for the item they have downloaded. This does not take into account a number of possibilities:

    • That user may never have purchased that item in the first place, thus no money is actually lost on a sale that will never have happened.
    • That user may have already purchased that item, but because the MPAA/RIAA/Similar organisations/studios/producers/etc have made it so restrictive for them to acquire that item in a convenient digital form that suits them and the device/s they own, they've had to download it illicitly instead in a format that DOES suit them and the device/s they own.
    • That user may actually then go on to purchase said item after enjoying what they experienced for free.

    I don't wish to justify piracy, because I believe that if you have the means to purchase something you want - you should. If you like a product, you should be supporting the people who produced it. However, it's just plain, factually inaccurate to claim that piracy is, firstly, stealing, and secondly that it does half as much harm to the economy or to jobs as the MPAA and RIAA are campaigning for you to believe.

    People who sell copyrighted material illegally, sure. They're proper criminals who are doing definite financial harm. But the normal people that do the vast amount of file sharing? They mostly do so because it's the only way they can consume their digital content in a suitable and useful manner - pretty much exclusively at the fault of organisations like the MPAA and RIAA themselves - and, for the most part, the effect they have on the sales of those goods are negligible, and could be quite easily combated by providing solid, DRM free, open format, digital means of consumption of those goods, legally and at a fair price. NOT by throwing money around at politicians and nuking the Internet.

    But then, that's why it's pretty clear that it's those digital channels of legal, easy-access content that are the real enemies of the MPAA/RIAA, not pirates. 'Cos they have it within their power to give people what they want and actually fight the effects of piracy - it'd just mean surrendering their enforced cuts on the sale of physical goods.
  9. You have an excellent point. Piracy is not the same as stealing exactly, because the original is untouched. Darn pirates clogging up my brain. :p However, wouldn't modern electronic piracy be considered (in a loose manner) theft of intellectual property?

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