SOPA and PIPA are stupid, Oatmeal nails why

January 19, 2012
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I’m very much in support of sites like Wikipedia, which are blacking out in protest of SOPA and PIPA. If you don’t know what they are, there’s this (the only Wikipedia page NOT blacked out) and this handy infographic. This is something that affects all of us, and it’s very important. Don’t think it’s only those crazy Americans and it doesn’t affect us – this affects everyone and is the start of a slippery slope.

My books are pirated all the time. I see them on fileshare sites and there’s nothing I can do about it. And yes, it pisses me off. But it’s a part of the modern world. As the old saying goes, the only thing worse than piracy is obscurity. Sure, I’d like to see stricter controls in place to protect film and music piracy, and, of course, ebook piracy. It’s in my interests – it affects my ability to make a living. But I do not agree with SOPA or PIPA as anything like valid ways to deal with the problem. It needs to be crushed for the fucking idiocy it is.

Of course, my little corner of the web here won’t make much of a dent if I black out. Ironically, the only thing likely to happen is that I might lose a couple of books sales. But I will speak out against the bills. And I can’t think of a better way to do it than with this animated gif from The Oatmeal. It’s simply perfect:

sopa SOPA and PIPA are stupid, Oatmeal nails why

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7 Responses to SOPA and PIPA are stupid, Oatmeal nails why

  1. Cat Sheely on January 19, 2012 at 2:31 pm

    Of course there is still the issue of people ‘lending’ their copies of printed books to each other. I’ve never heard of that infringing copyright.

  2. alan on January 19, 2012 at 3:00 pm

    Absolutely – secondhand bookstores too. But that’s only one book at a time. If I lend you my copy, I don’t have it any more and neither can anyone else. With a digital copy, I give you one and keep my own. I can do that thousands of times over with no effort. It’s a big difference.

  3. Cat Sheely on January 20, 2012 at 10:22 am

    Yes Alan, point well made.

  4. MichaelF on January 20, 2012 at 10:37 am

    1. I believe the newest Kindles have a feature where you can lend your books to someone for some fixed period of time as part of the system (ie. it then “returns” the book) and so on.
    2. Some nice results of the blackout!
    http://www.buzzfeed.com/provincialelitist/what-the-stop-sopa-blackout-accomplish-in-24-hours

  5. alan on January 20, 2012 at 11:14 am

    Michael – yes, the Kindle lending library means you can lend a Kindle book to someone. For two weeks they can access it on their Kindle and you can’t. Then it reverts back to you. It’s a good step, but kinda pointless in my mind.

    The culture needs to change. Legitimate book dealers and publishers need to make a situation where it’s as easy or easier for people to buy and use ebooks – i.e. sensible price point, no DRM, no regional restrictions, etc. – and then the majority of people will buy ebooks for themselves. There will always be piracy, but we can greatly reduce it with a sensible service model.

    Excellent results on the blackout!

  6. MichaelF on January 20, 2012 at 11:45 am

    Yes, the trying to mimick physical book lending by deliberately stopping you from reading the original is particularly silly in going against the whole point of an electronic document…

    As for the culture, I agree that would be helpful (as would things like licensing content at the ISP level where some level subscription is part of everyone’s monthly pay-in fee). But in the end there are many activists who advocate a much more radical reform of copyright law, for instance taking it back to its goals in the 19th century which is to basically restrict commercial use of copyright only.

    Whether this happens or not though, it will still be in the interest of companies and producers to make things easier in the ways you’ve mentioned.

  7. alan on January 20, 2012 at 1:11 pm

    Definitely. Regardless of how laws change, piracy will exist and circumvent. Making legal and proper action easier is the only way to beat it.

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Alan Baxter, Author

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