David Carr Explains Why Everyone Should Be Against SOPA
from the too-much-collateral-damage dept
I like my movies (and music and television) as much as the next couch potato, probably more. And I wouldnít steal content for any reason, in part because I make a living generating a fair amount of it. But itís worth remembering that the film industry initially opposed the video cassette recorder and the introduction of DVDs, platforms that became very lucrative businesses for them and remarkable conveniences for the rest of us.While SOPA supporters have been bending over backwards to insist that anyone who points out the problems of these bills are "siding with the pirates," the fact is that many, many people are recognizing the serious collateral damage that SOPA (and PIPA) would have on the internet. The key reason much of this is happening is actually explained earlier in the article. You have those who don't understand and fear the technology trying to legislate that technology. And it's become something of a generational thing:
Given both Congressís and the entertainment industryís historically wobbly grasp of technology, I donít think they should be the ones re-engineering the Internet. The rest of us might have to just hold our noses and learn enough about SOPA to school them in why itís a bad idea.
I'd argue that is true of some in Congress, but there's another element as well. There are, certainly, some in Hollywood who have a basic grasp of the technology. The issue there is more that they just don't like it. SOPA is an attempt to try to put things back into Pandora's box. The problem there isn't that they don't necessarily understand how the internet is being used... but that they don't understand how technology progresses, and how you can never take away features that consumers want once they know those features and capabilities exist.
There is also a cultural divide at work, according to Yancey Stickler, one of the founders of Kickstarter, a Web site that helps raise funds for creative projects, and a critic of SOPA.
ďThe schism between content creators and platforms like Kickstarter, Tumblr and YouTube is generational,Ē he wrote in an e-mail. ďItís people who grew up on the Web versus people who still donít use it. In Washington, they simply donít see the way that the Web has completely reconfigured society across classes, education and race. The Internet isnít real to them yet.Ē
The debate has highlighted how little Congress knows about the Internet they are proposing to re-tool. In a piece often cited on the Web, the computer culture journalist Joshua Kopstein watched the debate in Congress in which members bragged about their online ignorance, and he wrote an open letter on the technology Web site Motherboard titled, ďDear Congress, Itís No Longer O.K. to Not Know How the Internet Works.Ē