Saturday, January 28, 2012

MegaUpload to Holodeck

So one of my friends, S., posted this picture on Facebook, which is the going thing these days.  As if creating a picture will explain the whole world.  It's amazing, the way that people choose to communicate with each other.  Facebook was supposed to be a method for people across the world to talk to each other, but more and more I've seen just these pictures posted, without discussion or even thought about what they mean, how they impact the processes of the mind, how things are connected to others through synapses, often incorrectly so.

It seems to me that someone in the Occupy Wall Street crowd was downloading something on MegaUpload and all of a sudden {blink}, it's gone.  No more downloads of music, movies, software.  And let's not kid ourselves about this, it has nothing to do with all that for the normal computer user.  It's all about the Porn.  We just gave the Porn industry such a boost, because once you get rid of all possible places where pornography can be downloaded for free, the people who view such things will be forced, once again, to buy it.  But I got off track...  And so they think, it has to be the greedy bastards sitting at the top of their skyscrapers making money from all us poor people.  It's just not fair. Wall Street must be responsible for all this.  And in a very small way, that's part of it.  But the larger issue, one that is beyond this pictures ability to communicate, is that the Justice department was the one that implemented the raid and closed down the site.  That, along with the suspended SOPA bill, is giving the government full power to regulate the stuff that's on the Internet. Now, if that were the whole of it, I would go off on a tangent about how we should be able to download all the stuff we want, and haven't the RIAA and MPAA made enough money and blah blah blah.... except that's not it either.  There is no way that this issue (not SOPA, but just MegaUpload) can just be summarized in a picture. It is an argument of intellectual rights, free market issues; ideological, philosophical, and asethetic issues; so many issues. It could easily take up a book. We could produce arguments for and against MU, and be both right and wrong.  This issue brings together all the opinions of Free Market Capitalism, intellectual property, freedom of distribution of information, everything that the current generation feels about the way the world works.  The internet is a cacophony of information, stimuli, communities, vices, mind-numbing wastes of time, and we have ti pumped into our heads continuously throughout the day.  I go into most workplaces nowadays, and the workers have their iphones on and tuned into Spotify or their MP3s, and they're texting and checking their Facebooks, even watching videos when no one is watching.  It's an epidemic that is probably costing businesses tons of money.  And outside of absconding everyone's gadgets when they first come in, there's little anyone can do about it.  Everyone must have their fix of bytes and bits and kilos of data.   And that, too, is just a small part of it, and not what I was really focusing on.

I've gotten episodes of Disney shows from MegaUpload, they are free* on the Disney channel, so... was that wrong? Maybe. Is it illegal? Maybe. Should the government regulate such things. I don't think so, but the Libertarian paradox applies here. In the end, MU's shutdown won't matter much, as technology will change, methods will change, people will still get their copies of intellectual property. They'd have to shut down the internet entirely to stop it.  That would be the quickest way to start a revolution. Reminds me of the Pendragon Series, book 4, The Reality Bug, by DJ Machale. The Internet, and the things we download from it, are the fantasies by which we escape our own lives. To take that away would be akin to taking drugs away from the user. The withdrawl would be too much to bear. For the government to become that of Brave New World, they have to realize that the easiest way to control the people is through happiness, and whether our SOMA comes from a pill or through fiberglass cables, they have to keep the escapism alive.

I think that it's up to the providers of movies, games, etc... to come up with viable alternatives to free* downloading of their product. Spotify, for instance, is an amazing method, and would be more effective than any regulation or lawsuit. Hulu, Gamefly, Netflix, Redbox, also, are viable alternatives.  Another option would be the current companies that distribute intellectual property to vastly expand their "On Demand" line-ups, encompassing the entire line-up of TV shows and Movies that are available.  To do so would take an incredible amount of server upgrading, but would certainly doable, since the storage companies like MegaUpload basically have it already.  And there would need to be some way for the artists and producers to be compensated for their work. Basically, that would be Comcast or Cox or Charter hosting something like itunes or whatever, which would work. It's a viable option, something they should think about if SOPA actually passes with the vitrol it had in it previously. It would keep them from being liable while providing users with legal ways of obtaining their fixes. And if we can think this up, surely they can as well. Wouldn't be surprised if it's already in the works.  Comcast would have to increase their charges (or make it as a separate service) in order to do this, much as iTunes does now. And the public would have to accept that as a method better to get their fixes than downloading media online without compensation. It's a mental thing, a change in the minds of society's consciousness. That paying artists is actually a good thing, that the idea of the artists being just another part of the 1% is wrong, that they actually produce work for society and should be compensated as such, just as a worker laying the beams for a new skyscraper or the person making your Subway Sandwich. Changing the beliefs of Western Civilization is hard. It is done through technology or religion, and "Thou Shalt Not Steal" isn't working, so a change in technology is the best method. Thus the idea of Spotify and the iPod or like technology to provide all music everywhere with commercials. Although I think at some point it'll be a paid service (beyond the Premium service they already have).

I think that's the main issue here, when you get down to it.  The overwhelming idea that the Internet is free (totally and utterly free, without the * on it), and anything and everything that can be transmitted through the internet should also be free.  This ties in with the idea that artists and authors and directors are paid by these megacorporations that make millions (by other people besides me) and so they don't need the money from one measly download.  Because we're all broke, and we need our fix, and that fix is stronger than any legality or moral beliefs that would keep us from obtaining it.  It would be like speeding down the highway.  The desire to get to our location as quickly as possible is more overwhelming than the consequence of a speeding ticket, even if the ticket would equate to a whole week's worth of work.  The subsequent consequence for downloading a song or a video would be much more than that, even jail time, but most people don't even think of such things, so overwhelming is the desire to have music, film, games, and porn, all at our fingertips, and all free.  It's the thought process which is key here.

Once again I bring up two books which must be read to understand the idea behind changing the philosophies of Western Civilization.  If you can find, or download, these two books, they will be well worth the time to read them.  They are Clifford D. Simak's Ring Around the Sun and Arthur C. Clarke and Stephen Baxter's The Light of Other Days.  Both are amazing books which show how, through technology, the entire mindset of the world can be changed, much quicker than through a religion or through the machinations of corporations or governments to control the activities of the people under them.  It simply won't work.  However, changing the technology to adapt to the citizens' mindsets will work, just as the invention of the Internet changed the way the world thought and worked some years ago.  It's simply an adjustment, from one mindset to the next as the world speeds along forward, from book to radio, TV, Internet, Ipad, to Holodeck.  One day, we'll get there.

1 comment:

  1. S. Viores: Interesting take. We must find a solution to the Intellectual Property dilemma. Even amongst those of the free market libertarian perspective there seems to be a rift in what constitutes actual property and ownership of said property. If I purchased bread and made sandwiches out of it whether I sold the sandwiches or gave them away to friends, neighbors, or strangers is none of anyone's concern; however, the big media giants controlling the content people have consumed for years is treating it quite differently. What if I were not going to watch, listen or look at these forms of media unless they were actually free to do so? Why can I not share these with my friends or strangers? I could invite them over to view them but government forbid I host a movie viewing over the web in the same way. It will indeed take technological advancements to protect, disperse and consume these forms of media into the future and the question now is if I share an idea is it still mine? If I can't defend property then do I truly own it?