This is What Monopoly Looks Like: Buy the digital chickenfeed but steal the movies

An interesting contrast between an objective journalist and Jaron Lanier’s view–or said another way, reality.

Molly Wood’s view of the rise of the Google Nation as expressed at the eponymous News.com: “In the aftermath of Wednesday’s SOPA/PIPA blackout protests, the Internet community amassed quite a bit of goodwill, flexed its muscles in a friendly, humorous, civil-disobedience kind of way, and, remarkably, even managed to change quite a few minds.” (emphasis mine)

Jaron Lanier’s view of the same experience: ““[O]ur opposition [to rogue sites legislation] has become so extreme that we are doing more harm than good to our own cause. Those rare tech companies that have come out in support of SOPA are not merely criticized but barred from industry events and subject to boycotts. We, the keepers of the flame of free speech, are banishing people for their speech. The result is a chilling atmosphere, with people afraid to speak their minds.”

I guess you would harmonize these two by saying that tech company supporters of SOPA were afraid to speak their minds because of friendly, humorous, civil disobedience kind of boycotts and banning.

But then there’s “Kill Hollywood” by venture capitalist Paul Graham of YCombinator–let’s see, how’s that full rachet coming there?  As this visionary tells us “record labels…are effectively a rogue state with nuclear weapons. There is nothing we or anyone else can do to protect you from them, except warn you not to start startups that touch label music.”  Yes, that sounds like “friendly, humorous civil disobedience.” That’s certainly what I get from Mr. Farmville’s “Kill Hollywood.”

A couple quotes from Alexa Tsotsis in TechCrunch who is critical of Mr. Farmville:  “But to kill the whole thing off would get rid of a wealth of creative talent skilled in the cinematic portrayal of the human narrative, and replace it with what? A souped up Farmville?”

Here’s the very best quote from that piece which you really should read in its entirety, this is the very, very, very best:

“I finally asked Graham and YCombinator partner Harjeet Taggar what they thought people would be doing in 20 years, for fun.

Their answer:

‘I’d guess a lot more games. Zynga type games are likely only the start. Console video games are already essentially interactive movies.  Smartphones and tablets are making games more accessible than ever, in the future it’ll be bizarre to think that people ever purchased devices with the single function of loading games from a disc.

It’s probably impossible to predict *what* exactly people will be doing in 20 years but it’s likely a safe bet to say that the current model of going to a physical place where the only content available has been selected for me by a group of money men somewhere, won’t be around.'” (emphasis mine)

“Selected for me by a group of money men.”  You mean like Stacey Snider? Or money men like Silicon Valley VCs?  Oh, no, that’s right.  VCs will not pay to develop content of any kind.  I also have to point out as the guy who did the first license of major label recordings for a videogame–or so they tell me–and co-produced an album of orchestral game music by Tommy Tallarico, we don’t have problems with game companies.  And try to imagine these “essentially interactive movies” without top level composers and licensed music.

You know what’s actually a safer bet?  A safer bet is that in 20 years people will still be reading these things called books, watching these things called movies, viewing these things called illustrations, photographs and paintings and listening to this thing called music.

The unsafe bet is whether anyone will be able to make a living doing any of it anymore, and I offer you Exhibit A to demonstrate motive, intent and means–Kill Hollywood.  Why?  So people will buy the digital chickenfeed but steal the movies.

Maybe YCombinator understands their consumer far better than the “money men” ever could.