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Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Hitler Reacts to SOPA

Creativity like this is threatened by the USA's Stop Online Piracy Act. Reddit, Wikipedia and many other important sites are dark today in an effort to stop the bill (and its sister bill PIPA - Protect Intellectual Property Act), which if passed could have impacts on websites all over the world, not just in the United States. My blog in particular, focussing as it does on popular culture, could be seriously affected if these bills pass. If you're an American reader, I hope you'll contact your senator and congressman and urge them to block passage of both bills.

1 comment:

"Hide And Jeff" said...

This whole topic is extraordinarily disheartening. There is a lot of posturing while the fundamental issues are being ignored.

CBC was saying that this argument has less to do with piracy and more to do with new-style media outlets fighting with old-style media outlets, i.e. Internet distribution versus studio-based distribution. Both sides are exploitative and niether is particularly in the right.

Even so, the topic also seems to be about piracy while the true issue is entitlement. People seem to think that the Internet is "free", and therefore that things posted on the Internet are free as well. People feel that they are entitled to these things as their right. They do not bother to look at EULA's or copyright, even if it is spelled out in clear, human-friendly terms such as a Creative Commons license.

I'd have more sympathy for your feelings towards SOPA and PIPA, Earl, if you had even bothered to acknowledge the source of the video you are showcasing in today's post. It's really the least that a creative person can do when they are borrowing from someone else's source. Better still, you could have come up with your own original material from scratch. Dress up like Hitler, make your own subtitles, and away you go. I don't have time to shoot video myself, but I would be more than pleased to draw and scan a series of poses for you, and you could add the subtitles and audio in Creative Suite.

I still think this whole thing is just a grandstand spectacle for the benefit of the media. The purest and simplest solution is the one people do not want to hear: if you don't own something, then for Pete's sake, don't steal it. If you need something, then pay for it (or its rights) or make it yourself. That, I believe, is the wooden stake to pierce at the heart of the media piracy industry industry. However, the illusion of the free Internet compels people to think that they have the right to take what they please. Speaking personally, that is a very powerful enticement, and I wish I had a better track record for my own work.

Who is going to stop or change the way people access the Internet? Microsoft? Apple? Linux? Please. People rip off my blog left right and center. I would dearly love to be paid for things that have been stolen. I have no real method for policing my own blog except to shut it down, and what would that accomplish?

The SOPA/PIPA arguments are fine for taking a stand, but they do nothing to get to the root of Internet malaise. You can say "I am for" or "I am against" this legislation, but what is the point when the fundamental issue of propriety and ownership is never truthfully addressed?

"Downfall"/"Der Untergang" (2004) Oliver Hirshbiegel, Dir. Bruno Ganz, Alexandra Maria Lara and Ulrich Matthes. Source:

I hope this helps.