By Byron Gordon | December 29, 2011
As you down your end of the year champagne and dream about all of the greatness that will come your way in 2012, you might want to remind yourself of just how addicted you are to the Internet and how tempting it will always be to try and download someone’s product without their permission. Congressman Lamar Smith introduced SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act) earlier this year and the fiery outcry against the legislation by the Internet community has brought this legislation to center stage as we close out 2011. On the surface, who would object to preventing theft of intellectual property, right? If you didn’t create it, and it doesn’t belong to you, then in principal, it’s not yours, right? That’s why Hollywood and movie moguls have come out in full force in support of the legislation, saying rogue websites that are located offshore are stealing intellectual property worth billions of dollars and it’s hurting their business.
But the devil is always in the details! And opponents of SOPA rightfully argue that it’s what’s NOT specified in the bill that is cause for major alarm. In particular, SOPA does not protect legitimate sites that might get caught up by those ISPs and advertising networks, who in trying to enforce SOPA, might end up preventing you from accessing a legitimate website. What’s legitimate? How about YouTube or Facebook, for example? How often are you posting content that’s not technically yours to either of these sites? In order to be combat theft, you need to join the thieves! What do I mean?
Take my YouTube interview with Internet piracy guru and author, Matt Mason. Matt Mason, currently executive director of Marketing over at BitTorrent, wrote about how to solve online piracy with his best-seller, The Pirate’s Dilemma. Matt says online pirates actually add value to the product that’s been stolen. For example, the emergence of digital music or MP3s in the late 90’s nearly decimated the professional music industry and music labels galore were quick to try and shut down this new form of audio. But instead of fighting it, apple marketing genius, Steve Jobs, realized he could capitalize on it and iTunes was born as a means of competing with the pirates! And today, MP3s are as ubiquitous as analogue cassette tape was (so many years ago). Embracing piracy, according to Matt, can help companies further develop their product and find ways of profiting from it. Hulu, according to Matt, is the best most recent example of this type of effective competition against the pirates.
Joining the pirates can take the form of collective licensing agreements, revising outdated copyright laws, which criminalize the act of sharing content online, and if anything, simplifying copyright law from the overly complicated mess it is today that makes it nearly impossible to determine who actually owns what (Google ran into this problem as it tried to build its online library).
What do you think? Should we join the pirates?
- 1 comment • Blogging • Entertainment • Infographic • New Post
- Tagged as: collective licensing • copyright • Facebook • hollywood • intellectual • internet • law • matt mason • moguls • movie • mp3 • online • piracy • pirates • pirating • privacy • software • sopa • youtube
- Share on Twitter, Facebook, Delicious, Digg, Reddit