Corruption in the distribution industry

I think paying more and more attention to the level of corruption surrounding us has started to get me a bit depressed; as its difficult to focus on my more entertaining topics when I see big businesses that should be fading into non existence because we no longer need them fighting to stop progress instead of adapting to embrace our new technologies.

So, lets go ahead and get into this, lets talk about copyright holders. Entitlement is a major buzz word when talking about the piracy problem, and companies love to talk about how much money they are losing due to piracy. Can you lose money you never had though? When you compare modern piracy to theft, you lose a major difference; which is that when you steal from a store, a person, or sea bound transport vessel what you take is lost by the original owner, and there is a tangible loss.

When you download a song, game, or piece of software, the company does not get any money from you, but they also do not lose any assets. This does not make piracy a victimless crime, but our so called victims are less the ragged traumatized victims of a carriage robbery, and more like lords trying to squeeze out as much money from their subjects as possible, and are upset that they aren’t getting more.

Lets look at the idea of Entitlement though real quick, as this is something used as a word weapon against pirates. Basically, the argument goes that people nowadays feel entitled to get everything for free, and it is hurting the publishing companies because they lose a ton of money from not getting as many sales. it sounds reasonable enough, and if publishers weren’t actively putting a choke hold on both customers and artists alike, I’d probably agree. the problem is; they ARE putting both customers and artists into a choke hold to force us to play by their increasingly out of date rules.

In a free market, is it really overly self entitled to expect photoshop to be cheap or free when it’s got competition like Gimp, and that offer their product for free? Or, is it overly self entitled to expect people to pay several hundred dollars for a product that has multiple competitors who charge nothing for their product.

Is it self entitled to want to buy something once and own it forever? Or is it entitled to expect someone to pay for the same product several times? Recently, my iPhone rebelled against me when i tried to update it, and forced me to delete half of the songs and apps that I had purchased, which later I discovered was because those songs and products had been removed from the iTunes store and could no longer be verified as being owned by me. I don’t even buy music anymore because I refuse to purchase something that the distributor could literally take back from me and say “if you want it back, you have to buy it again”

I think distributors have lately started to notice that these aggressive measures against piracy are not working. In fact, they have probably caused a significant increase in piracy due to people preferring the pirated version of items that do not have all the inconvenient protection software installed in them. Which brings me to the last item for today: piracy laws.

As we enter into an age where not only does the internet exist; but it goes at speeds where even large files can be easily distributed to large numbers of people, distributors are looking more and more like they may be out of a job. Services exist now in many places where you can, without giving up your rights, distribute games, videos, music, and software, and profit from it. In this kind of market, there is no need for uncreative companies who’s sole purpose is to horde the rights to as many intellectual properties as possible in order to exploit them for money.

Why would anybody NEED to sign over the rights to songs they wrote and sing themselves to a massive music company, when they could risk free, post their songs to youtube with revenue sharing, and have a link to their song on iTunes and the Android store.

What happens to these companies when people like me no longer watch their channels on TV, or buy their music because its cheaper and more entertaining to watch videos people post on youtube. What happens to these companies when nobody signs away their rights to them because they have a safer alternative? They die. That is what is why laws like SOPA, PIPA, and ACTA are being pushed so hard. They know that if they cannot force sites that allow us to be creative and entertain ourselves while making money ourselves to shut down, there will soon come a point in time where these companies will no longer need to exist at all.

That’s what we are fighting; we are fighting a bunch of millionaires and billionaires who’s empires are founded on the idea that they are the only way to get your product to the masses. Each of these industries are built upon exploiting the fact that there WAS no way to become famous, or rich off of your creative talent unless you signed away everything to them. Without that to exploit, they cannot function, and that is why in their death throws they are willing to do anything; even destroy the functionality of the internet it’s self so that they can reclaim their domination over us.

I want to be an entertainer, and all this gloom and doom probably isn’t helping me reach that goal but hopefully if I get this off my chest it’ll free me up to come up with some better stuff.

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