SOPA is muddy. Needs cleaning up. I’ve read about both sides of the issue. On the one hand, you have rampant piracy of content like music and movies. Duff McKagan wrote a pretty decent post about how this has affected the music industry.
I’m still involved in the music biz, and I can tell you he’s pretty right. People rarely buy CDs. They may not often pay for downloads. And even if they do pay for downloads, if you’ve ever seen how the 79 cents breaks down, the band who performed the song is paid in pennies. There’s no money to be made from content. And currently, there’s no money to be made from touring. Thanks to the economy, many bands can’t sell out even small places. Nobody can afford that night out, especially with many ticket prices going UP. Over the last few years, I’ve seen people you’d think could sell out just about anything cancel shows or tours… Rihanna, Christina Aguilera, etc… Coachella still does well, but many other tours and groups aren’t doing well at all.
On the other side of internet piracy, you have where it goes too far. When Wikipedia claims they’d have to close down, something is going too far. Over on YouTube, I’m flagged as a “copyright infringer.” Why? Because I posted a few videos of myself singing karaoke, and YouTube decided I didn’t have the legal right to broadcast myself singing that song. Evidently, it was OK for me to sing that song in the karaoke bar, but not to video it and share it with friends. Is that killing free speech? You make the call.
Am I hurting an artist? Is somewhere, a recording studio closing because I posted me singing “Heartbreaker” by Pat Benatar while I was in a karaoke bar? Pat’s awesome. I’d hope that she’s making MORE money off me. I hope somebody hears me sing it, remembers what a great song it is, and legally pays for it somehow, somewhere. Is there somebody who COULD get paid because I have a video of myself singing karaoke, and I’m letting others watch it? Yes, evidently there is an authority who would like to collect money from me letting people watch that video. But is that the real problem here?
What is the real problem? I think people forgot what we’re trying to solve. If we’re trying to solve that pirating music and movies is illegal, well guess what. It already is illegal. So then what ARE we trying to do?
I’m going to leave the rest of that to this post, which is more interesting than Duff’s.