After the failure of SOPA/PIPA in Congress (and the internet community’s general outrage), Hollywood is trying to remodel their anti-piracy message. Although, collectively, they still do not understand where they went wrong with their anti-piracy bill, they are trying to understand why there was such a negative backlash. This time around, Hollywood reps are sure to be more careful about what goes into the bill. ““We can’t throw any old message out there. We need to be smart about it — where we put it, how we say it, who says it,” one entertainment industry executive told POLITICO.
What Hollywood doesn’t understand is that the general population doesn’t care HOW something is said; it’s WHAT is said. Section 104 of SOPA also has a clause which allows large ISP’s like Comcast to block websites at will; that is, if they have a ‘reasonable’ belief that any of their products are being pirated. SOPA, essentially, is holding websites responsible for user’s actions, even if users number in the millions. The current policy seems fair enough: if something is ‘flagged’ as copyright infringment, Youtube investigates and has a certain time period to take the video down, which has been done thousands of times.
The most baffling part of this article, though, was the finger-pointing that some of the Hollywood reps did at internet companies. Cary Sherman, Recording Industry Association of America chief executive, panned Wikipedia and Google’s protest against the bills on their sites as “an abuse of trust and a misuse of power.” Really, Cary? But when Chris Dodd threatens to cut funding to the Obama administration if they don’t support the MPAA’s stance on SOPA, that’s just fine? (video below) The blatant abuse of power by these Hollywood reps over the last few decades has been constant. It’s clear that funding was the primary factor in passing legislation until SOPA failed.
Similar to the newspaper industry, Hollywood is failing to adapt to the times. The successes of internet-user-friendly projects by Radiohead and Louis CK should be a wake-up call to Hollywood. The problem doesn’t lie with the consumers. The problem is you.