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We control all that you see and hear.

19 January 2012

As you well know, TV watches you here.

So, I’m writing a story that takes place about 84 years in the future for the current Twitter Novel Project. Eagle-eyed readers may have noticed a bit of message thrown into last night’s updates, and it wasn’t entirely a coincidence that part of the story came out on the morning after the Internet-wide SOPA blackouts.

In the story, independent content producers — those who self-publish, put out their own TV shows and films, and so on — have been wiped out thanks to lobbying from the networks. It’s an idea I had for the world before even starting the story, but the whole SOPA nonsense has made me think about it in a new light, and such a thing might not take another 84 years.

Look, I get that Internet piracy is bad. As someone who has a book that keeps popping up on pirate sites, it irritates me, too. And I get how the MPAA and RIAA think it’s taking a whole bunch of money away from them, but let’s be honest — anyone who’s going to pirate something is either a) trying it out and will probably spend the money on it if it’s any good, or b) wasn’t going to buy it anyway. So you’re (and I’m) not losing that much money.

But you know who is taking money out of the MPAA and RIAA and big publishers? Independents. People who produce their own stuff, price it themselves, sell it themselves, and take home the money without paying the RIAA, MPAA, or big publishers. And SOPA is tasked with “reducing piracy,” sure — but how long before the big content producers go after the people who are really “taking their money?”

Not long. Not long at all, I think. And then you’ll have five or six major corporations controlling everything you watch, read, or listen to. If that doesn’t scare you… well, you probably work for one of those corporations.

And that’s why I blacked out the blog yesterday, and that’s why I think SOPA and PIPA are horrible ideas.

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