If you’ve read the book or have seen the movie Friday Night Lights, you’ll remember Charlie Billingsley played by Tim McGraw, the running back father of running back Don. Charlie is emblematic of people you’ve probably known who “won State” in their youth or the equivalent and for whom reality has just never quite lived up to that championship season. One reason they get away with it is that people around them let them revise the past into a cloudy present.
So it is with the anti-artist crowd and SOPA. You’re probably asking what the hell is a “SOPA”–and if you are you are making my argument. It’s old news, just like Charlie winning State. Except it’s not even as memorable as an actual win, it’s more like a draw. Which is why we don’t like ties in football.
If you remember what happened with the SOPA legislation, Google decided to flex its lobbying muscle back in 2011-ten years ago. The legislation was called Stop Online Piracy Act (hence “SOPA”) and to be frank, the legislation was mismanaged. But the main reason it was mismanaged was because very few people–outside of MTP readers of course–realized just how debased Google’s management is and just how much Google alone can influence public opinion through search manipulation.
So ask yourself this–does anyone underestimate Google’s willingness and even desire to manipulate the public today?
Does anyone underestimate the lobbying power of Google today?
Does anyone question Google’s willingness to crush artists today?
Does anyone believe that Google will accept any legislation anywhere in the world that interrupts the income transfer from artists to their pockets?
And let’s not limit it to just Google, although Google set the paradigm. You have to include Amazon, Facebook and possibly most of all Twitter in that list as well. The combined lobbying power of these defense contractors and infringement machines is based almost entirely on the value they have extracted from creators in all copyright categories. They then use that extracted value to lobby against the interests of the very people they have already bullied.
So when we hear shilleries crank up with threats of a return to SOPA against Senator Thom Tillis who is trying to engage in reasonable “reforms” to the DMCA–too reasonable if you ask me–you have to ask whether the Lone Star is flowing a little too free in Shill-town.
My first reaction to these threats is can I get that in writing? During SOPA, Google tried to shut down the Internet–literally implemented that old “break the Internet” canard. So if after hearing the hand wringing, whinging and rending of garments about don’t break the Internet, it still remains that the only one who ever tried to actually break the Internet was Google and they did it to gain a lobbying advantage with SOPA to preserve their billions.
How to you think that would go over today? It seems to be lost on the shills that people don’t like them and people don’t trust them. There are at least two major governments who are actively trying to break up their monopolies. Would a SOPA style coordinated shut down help those cases? Or would it hurt them? So please, more SOPA kiddies.
It’s a little inside baseball, but understand this–every time, and I mean every single time, anyone anywhere tries to introduce fairness into the notice-and-takedown call and response, the shills bring up SOPA just like Charlie shoved his state championship in Don’s face. Old news, kiddies, old news. Get over yourselves.
I’d ask people like Senator Leahy what he had in mind when he voted for DMCA the first time around. Did he intend that there would be billions of take down notices? Did he intend to pauper artists? Did he intend to fix it so that only the biggest copyright owners could afford to use his law? Did he intend to create the Silicon Valley oligarchy through a honeycomb of loopholes? Because that’s what he did and frankly it was clear from the words on the page that that is exactly what would happen.
If that wasn’t what he intended, then let’s hear all about his true intentions and how well the current practices under DMCA are meeting those expectations. And then let’s go down the list of all the others still in Congress who voted for DMCA and see what they have to say. Will they stand up and explain themselves?
I doubt it. Because they know that this is all BS and loophole seeking behavior.
Remember this–whatever YouTube pays in royalties is probably about 1/100th of the value that the artists create for them. The reason Twitter refuses to pay any royalties is for the same very simple reason–it profits them to refuse to pay artists. And when I say “artists” I mean every creator in all copyright categories. And you can measure the correctness of that assertion by how much they spend to fight any changes to the law that would shift that balance back to where it should be.
And think about how little respect Big Tech has for artists that they would rather go through all the machinations of the DMCA notice and takedown loophole process–at unbelievable scale–rather than simply pay artists what they deserve. How much disdain, verging on hatred, must you have for someone to rob them blind and then humiliate them by making them chase you without response or even acknowledgment of their contribution to your profits. So much that you have a fleet of lawyers and lobbyists to fight the very thought of fair compensation. Kind of like this guy:
Thankfully we have stand up representatives like Senator Tillis who is willing to take on the special interests and the Big Tech oligarchs. But just like we all had to join together to stare down Senator Wyden who was doing his best to screw over artists with his hold on the copyright small claims legislation, we need to do the same with DMCA reform. I know its all disheartening and I understand the ennui of learned helplessness that Big Tech loves to lay on you. They’re no different than any other bullies.
Senator Tillis needs our help. We can pick up the phone and call our Senators in Washington so when they get back from their most recent vacations on September 20 they know what we think. Call them today at the Capitol switchboard (202) 224-3121 and ask them go co-sponsor DMCA reform.
Hang in there. Senator Tillis conducted extensive hearings on his proposal and it’s the first chance we’ve had in a generation to do something about the hell Congress visited upon us in 1998.
Clear eyes, full hearts, can’t lose.