Information Wants to be Free (Fuck ACTA)

Alright, so this recent load of bullshit (it's been tossed around for a while but seems to finally be coming to a resolution) is allegedly an anti-piracy measure. Because there is no possible solution but monitoring everyone's search queries in order to stamp out illegal downloading.

I'm not going to say anything about my track record, but I am going to say this is how stuff works. You can't charge more than $500 for a single piece of software, especially not something like Photoshop, and be surprised when people start passing it around. Likewise for $15 CDs that not only waste plastic but are mostly full of crap songs.

The former's been dealt with in part by the existence of Photoshop Elements, which does cover the average person's basic needs. Of course, Adobe does a terrible job of promoting it, instead handing out free trials of the various and insanely regular Creative Suite updates. On the other hand, I suspect they cover for piracy by making legal copies more expensive. I doubt anyone's going to come forward about that.

Music and videos, though--that's the big thing. The dipshits in the RIAA think tighter controls will fix everything. Somehow, companies like Amazon.com have still managed to push through non-DRM mp3 downloads--which, yes, I'm willing to pay for...provided I've heard the songs before.

Free radio stations and services like Pandora should have full access to music with occasional commercial interruptions and maybe the limited skip option, though that's easily bypassed. If people like it enough and want the artist to do more, they'll support it.

And DVDs have figured out some ways to make use of this: by tossing special features onto their disks and including a lot of bonus material that doesn't make its way onto peer uploads. People who care enough to watch it more than once might actually go for that kind of thing!

As for TV shows--Hulu, guys. It should be fifty times bigger.

If Google can support its massive bulk mostly on selling adspace, why can't anyone else? It seems like it would be more profitable for content to be free and revenue to be acquired through short ads and more on the page than for the current system of privacy-violating and content-restricting (have you ever tried to reacquire something you obtained legally?) bullshit.

Write to your senators at Eff.org.

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