On Thursday, a website based in China was shut down by the US government. Its owner, a German citizen living in Auckland, was arrested by foreign law enforcement working under the influence of US guns.
This sort of heavy handed thing flirts with the borders of legality, and it's at the core of why many, many people are worried about SOPA and PIPA. On Wednesday, the web went dark to protest the Draconian legislation, which has already seen many of its backers back down, because the average person isn't buying the arguments for the content distribution industry are offering. When the average person in the "endangered" industries make $55,000 a year, it's hard for people who got squeezed out of manufacturing, web design and automaking to be sympathetic, much less bartenders and administrative assistants and college kids eating Top Ramen. Here's what Transformers screenwriter John Rogers had to say …
Any screenwriter who thinks he loses more money to piracy than to Hollywood studio accounting is a child.
Not just in places like #musicmonday, piracy (or less romantically, "theft") happens. Living in the kleptocracies of the western world, many people grow up believing that it's not actually wrong until you get caught. When platinum selling artists like TLC and Toni Braxton go bankrupt while record industry moguls make mountains of cash. Once upon a time, people were able to make money on mimeograph machines. Should we have legislated ways to let them keep those jobs in the face of a changing economy or advanced technology? How's the record of people fighting the future? Kind of like the numbers on people saying, "Sure, we can beat gravity." Those kinds of inevitability only have to be right once.
Oh, in response to the US international shenanigans, hacker collective Anonymous struck back, taking down websites for the Department of Justice, the MPAA, the RIAA, Universal Music and more. Occupy the web?
As well, on Friday the news came down that the unctuous bills had been shelved indefinitely. Does that mean the hullaballoo is over, or will this kind of legislation return as a rider on a popular appropriations bill, sliding past our radar? Let's see what happens next.