You know how in horror movies when the beast/zombie/alien monster/ghostly apparition looks like it's finally been vanquished, you know it'll still rise up one more time to scare the bejesus out of you?
Meet the real-life equivalent: the RIAA and the MPAA. Despite being beaten like a drum last year over SOPA and PIPA, two badly written bills that aimed to curb piracy and counterfeiting at the cost of free speech, the content cartel is alive and poised to lunge at your jugular.
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Yesterday, MPAA president and former U.S. Senator Chris Dodd addressed the Content Protection Summit, calling for a partnership with the same companies that helped to shoot down the idiot twins SOPA and PIPA last year. Per Variety:
"Hollywood and Silicon Valley have more in common than most people realize or are willing to acknowledge," he said. "Not only does Hollywood work closely with Silicon Valley to create and promote films; Hollywood film and television creators are tech companies. They celebrate innovation through the world's most cutting-edge content, and they embrace technology as imperative to the success of the creators in their community.
Early next year we'll start to see major ISPs -- AT&T, Cablevision Systems, Comcast, Time Warner Cable, and Verizon -- roll out the Six Strikes system, where would-be pirates are given a series of escalating warnings and may have their Internet connections throttled if they don't quit downloading.
The argument, which Dodd made yet again last month in an op-ed piece for the Huffington Post, goes thusly: When you're BitTorrenting MP3s and MPEG files, you're hurting artists, not fat, white male corporate hooligans wearing $2,000 suits.
Dodd uses the recent Facebook copyright hoax to draw comparisons between how people view their own content on Facebook and how media companies view it.
The Facebook incident demonstrates that the average Internet user recognizes this fact, especially when they feel their personal content -- photos, videos, ideas, etc. -- is in jeopardy. But it also provides average Internet users with some insight into the point of view of the creators of movies, music or other artistic endeavors whose work has been subject to online theft.
The livelihoods of these innovators depend on strong copyright protection policies so they can benefit from their work and continue to create more of it. Without robust intellectual property protections, innovation has no incentive to thrive.
Dodd's concern for content creators is deeply moving -- or it would be, if it weren't total bull. The music and movie industries have been ripping off these same "artistic innovators" for decades.
Rolling Stone magazine recently ran a series of stories this fall on how musicians like James Taylor, Cheap Trick, and the Allman Brothers have had to sue their own labels to get the money rightfully owed to them. The issue at hand? Royalties for digital copies of their work.