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Thursday
May192011

Sharing, Streaming and P2P -- The Death of Our Internet's 'Hippie' Era

It was too good to be true. You always knew it. Millions of songs, movies, books, etc., all up for grabs, all of the time. We used to think, ‘Oh they won’t catch me— they may catch the sophomore college fool who seeds hundreds of torrents, but not me.’ Now they won’t have to.

Though US Congress hasn’t made any definitive steps towards culling the filesharing craze as of yet, a menacing White Paper has been tabled, and, with enough lobbying by our friends at the RIAA and media conglomerates, I would bet on some initial legislation being passed by 2012. They aren’t going after the college kid anymore, that was simply how the US set the stage for the impending legislation regarding any kind of filesharing activity online. Court orders will be served to US-webhosts providing access to illegally-hosted files, streaming, etc., mandating their closure or denial of service to infringing clients. For individual perpetrators in the US, the crime is slated to be regarded as a felony. Yikes!

Remember how Napster and, more recently, Limewire were shutdown overnight? That’s the kind of pace we’re talking about with regard to the imminent changes foreseen for our Internet lifestyles. Soon enough it’ll take 10 minutes to load thepiratebay.org’s homepage and 3 hours to download the latest Justin Bieber album that used to take 5 minutes total. I have no idea how factually accurate these figures might be in the ‘post-hippie’ Internet era, but I’m assuming that the last popular filesharing sites standing will likely be in Europe—probably in places like Sweden, where it will take longer for this political trend to catch on. Of course, Canada, Australia, and the UK will be among the first to find such legislation passing through their respective Parliaments. So download those Radiohead, Arcade Fire, and AC/DC albums while you still can. I know, promoting criminal activity is wrong. But at this point—when it’s all about to go up in smoke—can you really blame me?

As an artist and musician, I can honestly say that my music wouldn’t be half of what it is now without all those free albums I harvested throughout my adolescence and college career. I’d maybe have a little over a hundred or so CD albums by now if I’d been limited to acquiring them from neighborhood record stores. Indeed, I have purchased that many albums over my lifetime, but the ones that I still have in my possession total zero. The ones collecting dust in my parents’ house—maybe 20 or so. The rest—who knows? I stopped playing CD’s in my discman ten years ago. That same amount of money spent on iTunes would have at least doubled my collection. Instead, most of the money I did spend on albums went to record stores and labels. A tiny percentage went to the artists, who might be missing out on that percentage these days, but at least their music has been exposed to an exponential increase in numbers of potential fans— thanks to filesharing.

The most insulting part of it all is that we’re being told that filesharing and the like is wrong— everyone will be better off if we make it illegal. Are the artists (screw off Metallica) being asked for their opinions? More importantly, is the public being asked for its opinion? Of course not, and even worse are the distractions from the real issue, that is, Internet freedom. All the media focus on ‘net neutrality’ and unfair billing practices employed by the telecom giants has, it seems, been perfectly coordinated and timed to distort the issues that we should really be getting up in arms about.

Regardless, the end is near. Leave it to the US to colonize the final frontier (the Internet), set and enforce regulations as it sees fit, and reap the benefits. Just as it administers the UN, IMF and World Bank in the perpetuation of its global dominance, the US Fed now seeks to administer the Internet. The impact of this initiative will extend far beyond filesharing. Indeed, it will change the way we conceptualize the Internet. Once a utopian realm where the flow and exchange of media was free and unencumbered by Government interference, the Internet will become what it was (apparently) always destined to be: Cable TV 2.0. At least we’ll be able to Tweet each other while watching American Idol.

…I’m moving to the Netherlands.

 

Visit http://bit.ly/gPS2y9 for a list of the kind of sites that will be affected.

To read the White Paper visit http://1.usa.gov/f66NO2 (and tell me what you think!)

If you don’t feel like skimming through it, check out this article (http://bit.ly/fi3ipI).

(The video below is long but will give you an idea of why Government in cahoots with Big Media seeks to censor Internet freedoms: Hint— it has to do with making money)

 

Julian Demers-Mader
Director of Artist Services, Public Records

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Reader Comments (1)

I'm reminded of footage from the 70s of blackouts in New York, the Bronx riots, when people smashed their local stores up and fought each other to take the loot. Instead of taking the opportunity to start a revolution, or at least, head downtown to Macy's they stole cheap shite from their own neighbourhood and helped hasten its decline.

Are you sure you 'harvested' all that free music? Maybe the rioters were 'harvesting', too.

We fucked it up and all we're left with is meaner dinosaurs and a folk revival.

May 22 | Registered CommenterTim London

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