Blackout…

7 Comments

Filed under Politics, Truth

7 responses to “Blackout…

  1. sydney & ron

    We are on it!
    Have tweeted, Faced and called.

  2. Rob

    It’s too bad that the campaign of misinformation about SOPA has succeeded so well. Piracy of movies and TV shows is eroding the business model of the studios and networks that sign union contracts and provide middle class careers with benefits. The internet culture of free information is translated to also assume that content should be free. Studios will continue to make movies, but the profit motive will be tainted by the reality of piracy. Cost-cutting of an extreme nature is already becoming the norm: making movies in “right to work” states (if at all in the U.S.) where incentives provide cost reductions and out of the country. So the future will unfold with SOPA watered down and online piracy will continue to be unfettered. Once the middle class crafts of union film workers has been decimated, we may look back on this fight and feel differently about how it should have come out.

  3. Rob. There are already laws against piracy and theft of intellectual material. SOPA is a Trojan Horse. Its sponsors sell it as an anti-piracy bill, but it’s written in a way that gives the Feds dramatic new powers to close websites down. Like the Patriot Act, it can be used as a blunt instrument in the hands of an Administration seeking to exert more control over the Internet and, worse, target its online enemies. The internet has operated without SOPA for decades now — and corporate profits (including Hollywood’s) have grown exponentially. I would argue that fan sites and blogs devoted to movies (even YouTube) have done a lot to promote movies and increase box office. In the TV industry, cost-cutting has more to do with the shrinking share of the ratings pie (and thus, advertising revenue) as the number of TV networks continues to increase — and that fact that Joe Millennial isn’t watching TV or the movies: he’s using his TV to play “Call of Duty”.

    • Rob

      Joint Statement from AFM, AFTRA, DGA, IATSE, IBT and SAG

      Regarding the PROTECT IP Act (S. 968) and the Stop Online Piracy Act (HR 3261)

      The following statement was issued by the American Federation of Musicians (AFM), American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA), Directors Guild of America (DGA), International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, Moving Picture Technicians, Artists and Allied Crafts of the United States, Its Territories and Canada (IATSE), International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT), and Screen Actors Guild (SAG):

      “We thank and commend Senators Reid, Leahy and Kyl as well as Congressmen Smith, Conyers, Goodlatte, Watt and Berman and all the other co-sponsors of the PROTECT IP Act and the Stop Online Piracy Act, who in the face of an onslaught of mistruths and great pressure to renege on their commitment, stood steadfast in their belief that the uniquely American creativity embodied in our country’s films, TV programs and music deserves to be protected from illegal foreign profiteers. We fought for this legislation because illegal Internet businesses that locate offshore expressly to elude US laws should not escape the very same rules of law that currently apply to illegal US websites – they should not be allowed to reap in profits if they knowingly sell or distribute illicitly gained content and goods which they had no role in creating or financing to the American consumer.

      “We recognize that we are currently part of a complex and important debate about the future, not just of the Internet but also of creativity, the American economy, free expression, and a civil society. We believe that the light should be being shined on every aspect of this discussion and on all of those who have a stake in it. We believe we should discuss what an unregulated ‘free’ Internet means for the future of content, just as we should also discuss the importance of an open Internet.

      “We welcome this debate. We hope a new tone can be set and it is not one that turns our advocacy for this legislation into an implication that we promote censorship. Our commitment to the First Amendment is decades old and long established – it is a matter of public record from long before the word ‘Internet’ was part of anyone’s vocabulary. If one truly embraces free expression, they do not take down the Library of Congress websites, the very symbol of our country’s belief in knowledge and learning. We would hope a new tone can be set that does not pit the creativity and innovation of our directors, actors, performers, craftspeople, and technicians against those innovators in other industries. We hope a new tone can be set that does not include website attacks, blacklists, blackouts, and lies. We believe an Internet that does not allow outright stealing has to be the Internet of the future or all the promises it holds will be unrealized.

      “We are committed to open debate. We are equally as committed to protecting our members’ ability to create and to earn a living while doing so. We will work with Chairmen Leahy and Smith to make both possible.”

      # # #

      Statement from Senator Reid:
      http://reid.senate.gov/newsroom/pr_012012_reidstatementonintellectualpropertybill.cfm

      Statement from Chairman Leahy:
      http://leahy.senate.gov/press/press_releases/release/?id=467fb8f0-828d-403c-9b7b-8bf42d583c3e

      Statement from Chairman Smith:
      (statement is not yet posted online so link is to his homepage: http://lamarsmith.house.gov/)

  4. Ronny C sent this article from one of our favorite blogs. It pretty clearly demonstrates the practical (and chilling) effect that SOPA would have on the Internet, despite what entertainment industry lobbyists and some (perhaps) well-meaning politicians tell us…

    Subject: Phenomenal Explanation Of SOPA

    http://bit.ly/zDdkJy

    “Just consume, don’t produce, don’t share.”

    The content industries don’t want a distinction between what’s legal and illegal, that bit them in the ass already, with the Home Recording Act of 1992, wherein it was declared legal to make your own mixtapes, even share them. That horrified them. So they changed their game, they decided to go after the sharing itself.

    That’s what SOPA and PIPA are all about.

    And the way they’re going to achieve their goal is to put the burden of policing upon Google and Yahoo and the other portals/search engines that provide links. If the cost of policing is high enough, they’ll just outlaw the practice. Entirely.

    There’s a great analogy at the beginning of this clip. A story about a bakery in Brooklyn that allowed customers to bring in their kids’ drawings so they could be imprinted upon cakes. Only one problem, kids like to draw cartoon characters, the ones they see in movies and on television. And this is copyright infringement. So what did the bakery do? Instead of having someone make a judgment as to the legality of each drawing, they outlawed the practice entirely. Now you can still get an image on your cake, but it has to be one of the authorized ones the bakery provides.

    But maybe your kid drew a fish because he likes fish and he’s never even seen “Finding Nemo”. He can’t get his fish on a cake because the bakery is afraid of infringement, they’re not even gonna make that judgment. Google is gonna outlaw links to all sharing because it’s just too damn expensive to figure out what’s legal and what’s illegal. So you’ll just consume pre-approved content, manufactured by the usual suspect music and movie companies. You can’t create your own because it might infringe and Google doesn’t want to make the wrong decision and it takes too much money to make a decision, so you can create your music, but it won’t be findable, the search engine can’t take that risk.

    And if you think the above is blown out of proportion, you don’t understand how the content companies think.

    They want control. The Internet is their worst nightmare. It allows anybody to create. And under the rubric of preventing you from mixing up your content with theirs, they want to outlaw sharing completely, they don’t want you making music and movies, they just want you to buy theirs. This is the concept of scarcity that made them so much dough, this is the past they’re trying to jet us all back into by crippling the Internet. As Clay Shirky says in this video, they want to “raise the cost of copyright compliance to the point where people simply get out of the business of offering it as a capability to amateurs.”

    They think we’re dumb. They’ve got no idea the Internet is all about smart. They want us to believe in the nincompoops on “The Jersey Shore”, not some egghead with degrees who’s actually thought about all this and isn’t in it for the short term money and fame.

    TED talks are a burgeoning resource. The brand stands for intelligent insight. Take the time out to watch this presentation, you’ll get it, you’ll be horrified, you’ll send it to all your friends.

    P.S. You might be unable to do this under SOPA. For fear that you might be sharing copyrighted material, your ability to share at all could be crippled, because it would cost too much for the linking service to determine whether it’s legal to share the content or not.

  5. Rob

    “sharing” as a euphemism for internet piracy. It sounds like misinformation to me. Stealing is stealing. Sharing is sharing. He’s right about one thing: more is coming. Union workers will be extinct if piracy is not abated. Rightly or wrongly the masters who sign these union contracts will “contract” their costs in reaction to piracy losses and we will be the casualties. Maybe that’s the way of the world. I’m glad I’m vested in my pension plans and have not got to look to the future with such questions as “Will I have to work non-union and save 100% for my retirement or will I be able to work on quality products and make a good salary and have a decent retirement afterwards?” The internet is a behemoth and a beast and wonderful playground and an invaluable resource for information sharing and more. The real deal is that copyright law needs changing to be less corporate enhanced — if products have a shorter shelf life of copyright, and then become public domain, it will relax the climate of greed somewhat. But movies that are made available on pirate sites minutes after they are released in theaters (where tapers tape them off the screens and upload them from their theater seats) is costing the industry SOMEthing. And they are reacting to it by leaving California to make films in incentive states, foreign countries, and by buying movies made by independents entirely non-union, etc. I hope they don’t repeal the healthcare law, because after union members get put to pasture they will need affordable health insurance on their reduced earning capacity. It won’t be a worthwhile ambition to work in the crafts anymore when that time comes, and it has already come, frankly. Many people have moved to Louisiana or New Mexico in hopes of working enough to make their benefits, and often it doesn’t work out for them.

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