Culture

by Mike Masnick


Filed Under:
pipa, sopa, students

Companies:
paramount, viacom



Paramount Wants To Talk To Students About How They're All Thieves & Then Ask For Ideas On What To Do

from the still-not-getting-it dept

As Hollywood struggles to come up for breath and understand the nature of what hit them last month in the SOPA/PIPA debate, it appears they're still thinking that part of this is an "education" issue -- and if they could just tell young people how evil file sharing is that everything would be good. A whole bunch of folks have been passing on variations on the news that Paramount Pictures (owned by Viacom -- one of the major backers of SOPA/PIPA) wants to go talk to college kids. A bunch of universities received:
"an overnight fedex letter from Paramount expressing the extent to which they are ‘humbled’ and ‘surprised’ by the extent of the public reaction to SOPA/PIPA and asking to come to campus to talk to faculty and students about “content theft, its challenges, and possible ways to address it."
Paramount specifically asks to give a "formal presentation followed by an open discussion period or to participate in a class session." First of all, actually having open discussions would be a good first step, because that's been lacking in this whole debate. But, I'm not sure starting off that conversation by referring to copyright infringement as "content theft" is the best way to kick things off. I know that the industry has chosen "content theft" as its moral panic phrase of the year, after they realized that the people they'd unfairly branded as "pirates" had taken back that phrase and turned it to their own advantage.

Why not hold a truly open discussion in which everyone can participate and talk about ideas as to the true nature of the problem? That discussion is happening every day out there on the "wild west" of the internet, if only the folk at the studios actually wanted to join in. Perhaps if they did so, they wouldn't be so terrified of the internet.

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  1. identicon
    Michael, 4 Feb 2012 @ 11:56am

    Re: SOPA/PIPA debate

    I believe that it is wrong to steal. That said, where do we draw a line between copying (i.e. what computers naturally do) and stealing? Moreover, who gets to determine where that line is drawn? What constitutes 'property'?

    Is every idea or concept under the sun utilized by the creative minds in the entertainment industries exclusively their ideas?

    How come mega-billionaire corps are allowed to draft legislation in the absence of public scrutiny? If what they're doing is morally just, why do everything in secrecy on one hand and then demand transparency from everybody else?

    How come they're entitled to dictate what a consumer is allowed to do with the things they own, let alone dictate the terms on which internet sites and users must function?

    How come they get to write laws in the first place?

    Is it a reasonable assessment that they're propping up copyright/IP infringement as if sacred entities which must be protected at all costs from being copied to the extent that they regulate, censor and take control of the entire internet?

    If I decide to lend my brother a copy of a movie and he likes it and wants for me to make him a copy, who are you to tell me that I can't?

    Why are the legacy players snooping around and trying to monitor what everyone else is doing? What justifies their intrusive behavior?

    There are just laws and unjust laws. If the legacy players are knowingly bribing our congressmen and senators in order to pass legislation which furthers their own corporate agenda at the expense of the common good, shouldn't such laws be considered inherently unjust?

    Why are they suing children and dead grandmothers for thousands of dollars? Isn't that an unreasonably harsh penalty considering the menial nature of the accusations?

    Think about how absurd this sounds: Somebody downloads ten songs, the music label finds out (via unwarranted snooping), tracks the person down and sues him/her for an absurd amount in questionable "damages," usually to the tune of tens of thousands of dollars. Is this really the moral thing to do? Are their songs really worth tens of thousands of dollars or in actuality just a few cents?

    Answer these questions and we'll talk.

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