I’m sorry to do this to all my followers, again. This blog is for my art and that’s what you watch me for. But in defense of my art, my livelihood and my right to have this blog at all, this needs to be said again.
SOPA and PIPA- bills that give media corporations the power to censor sites they deem as violating copyrights -are about to be voted on, and while the anti-SOPA movements have made great strides, especially after BlackOut Wednesday, there’s still a great threat of it being passed. Obama has threatened to veto either bills should they hit his desk, but there’s no guarantee that he will, and even if he keeps his word there’s still enough SOPA/PIPA supporters to overturn his veto.
On top of all this turmoil, today MegaUpload was ravaged by the FBI, shut down and had 7 of its operators arrested under the suspicion of them hosting pirated content. Content that users would have uploaded to the site, not the company or it’s employees. This is devastating. SOPA and PIPA haven’t even passed yet, and there are drastic measures being taken in the name of copyright protection.
I am all for protecting copyrights, but when your solution to eradicate piracy will impair rights and harm more people than it will help, it should NOT happen.
(I feel I should mention- I focus on how this would affect people relying on the net to financially support them not because I feel it’s anymore important that rights of free expression and information, but because it’s something that I can speak from personal experience on, that many other internet users cannot. The idea that people’s rights are threatened by these bills is more than deplorable on its own that SOPA and PIPA shouldn’t be passed because of it.)
These bills stand to harm millions of smaller businesses, their employees and their families. In a letter I wrote a couple months ago, I addressed how the livelihood of my husband and myself largely depends on our use of many sites threatened by these bills. If they were to pass, these site which are vital to our means of a living are very likely to be handicapped in some way, if not taken down all together, thus completely eradicating a large chunk of my husband’s income, and all of my own.
People who depend on the internet for their livelihood may be a minority, but that does not mean we are few. There are millions of us across the world Where’s the support for us and our well-being? These big-time media corporations are raising hell about losses in DVD and CD sales, but how much does it actually hurt them?
Let’s make an example of one of the biggest film franchises in recent years: Twilight.
In 2010, Twilight Eclipse made 300.5 million dollars in the box office. Now consider that there’s been two previous Twilight films, and another two to come. Now take into account the merchandising for the franchise, and how many millions, probably hundreds of millions, merchandise has brought in over the last few years thanks to loyal fans.
With these millions (if not billions) of money made from the box office and merch alone, are the lessened DVD sales really hurting them?
Many people (including myself and pretty much everyone I know) still buy hardcopies of films, especially if it’s a film, series or musical artist they are committed to. So it’s not as if DVD sales have completely vanished.
The Twilight saga is produced by Summit Entertainment, which produces many films every year, and much of which are blockbusters. Regardless of DVD sales, they are raking in money.
Enough to keep their big-wig executives multimillionaires.
Enough to pay their star, A-list actors and directors millions for a single film.
Are they really having such a hard time?
And that’s just Summit. There any many, many other companies just like it, with their multimillion-dollar franchises and global reach.
The music industry has taken a harder hit, as their business relies more on record sales than than Hollywood does on DVD’s.
BUT, what about concert tours and (again) merchandising? Think about how much one, lone, popular act- say Lady Gaga -must make on a single tour? 20-30 shows in one tour, to sold-out stadiums, with tickets usually starting at at least $50 for even nosebleed seating?
Big media corporations’ profits have dwindled a little, but in light of the billions upon billions they still make, is it really something worth threatening the rights of free speech, free information and online business of billions across the world? And this will affect the world. This is, unfortunately, far from just a US problem.
And, lets ask; is copyright protection really what SOPA and PIPA are all about?
Chances are, there’s much more devious motives at play.
And even if intentions are good, what’s to stop these corporations from abusing their censorship powers? They don’t have a good track record with that regard. It’s happened so often already, without these bills giving them free reign.
I’m far too angry by this point to elaborate intellectually, but here’s a few resources that can:
Explanation what these bills are and how detrimental they will be: Video
How the corporations are responsible: Video
International concerns: Video
The US extradites a UK citizen over just linking to pirated material: Article
Article about MegaUpload’s take-down: Article
Article about congress not allowing public voice in debates: Article