Are There Really Pirates on the Net?

No, I didn’t black out any of my web pages to protest SOPA or PIPA, partially because I’m lazy, but also because I’ve never been someone who really thought protests like that made much of a difference. I hope I’m wrong, as I am with the people who participated in the blackout in spirit, but I doubt my particular pages being blacked out would affect anything. And really, I get the impression that this is legislation proposed by people who never use the Internet anyway. I forget who it was who said the Internet was a series of tubes, but that’s the kind of people I imagine being behind it. It’s really not practical, and who’s going to benefit from it anyway? Obviously not the general public, and probably not the creators of original content either. It’s basically another way for corporate lawyers and executives to gouge more money from everyone else.

I mean, copyright protection is a good idea, but there’s a huge difference between someone making a picture with Mario in it and trying to sell a Mario game as their own creation, right?

I was thinking recently about the idea of property rights, and I think copyright fits into this issue as well. Conservatives love the idea of property rights, but it seems that it’s all too common for them to use it as an excuse for the richest people never to give a cent to anyone else. To me, property rights are largely about defending the less fortunate. Theoretically speaking, under what I guess could roughly be called the Law of the Jungle, property belongs to whomever is able to take it. If you have a house and some bigger and stronger guy wants it, he could beat you up and take it for his own. With the civilized concept of property ownership, if I’ve paid for a house, then no one can legally take it from me simply through force. It’s much the same for copyright. I think it’s good inasmuch as it defends creators from being ripped off, but when it becomes a matter of lawyers and lobbyists trying to maintain the status quo, it kind of goes against what I see as its purpose. That’s not to say that rich people shouldn’t also have their copyrights protected, just that they shouldn’t get MORE protection than anyone else, or special consideration because they paid off the government. Speaking of which, one thing I saw today that really got to me was this comment from the MPAA, referring to the Internet blackout as an “abuse of power.” It’s funny how it’s always the powerful who accuse other people of abusing power. When the lower classes complain that the upper classes can do pretty much whatever they want with no consequences, it’s “class warfare.” When someone wants to acknowledge that not everybody celebrates Christmas, it’s a “war on Christmas.” The message seems to be that, even if you’re not doing anything violent or illegal, simply acknowledging that there might be a problem with the status quo makes you a rabble-rouser.

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