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?