If Wikipedia is Wrong, I Don't Want to be Right - Herbietown

If Wikipedia is Wrong, I Don’t Want to be Right

You may have noticed that your favorite websites were blacked out yesterday, to protest SOPA and PIPA, two bills that are working their way through our esteemed Congress.

Hollywood vs. Silicon Valley. Who is in the right?

My first instinct was to side with the tech companies whose products I love so much. If Wikipedia is wrong, I don’t want to be right. But I also love movies and music, and I get my paycheck from a content company. I was torn.

So I decided to do some research.

This is what I learned. Hollywood wants to shut down foreign websites that steal food from the mouths of artists’ children. Silicon Valley is fighting for freedom and democracy for all mankind.

It is hard to find an unbiased analysis of what these bills actually mean.

The enormous amount of free content available on the internet is a threat to the economic models of many media companies. How are you supposed to compete with free?

I know, I know, it’s a losing battle. Media companies shouldn’t be fighting it with lobbyists, they should be innovating new business models. Yes, they’re all cigar-chomping fat cats out to rape the American public. Yeah yeah yeah.

Look, if all content is free because IP can’t be protected, we have a problem. A BIG problem. No more Avatar. No more James Bond. No Twilight. No Mad Men. No Harry Potter. Do I need to continue? Anything that costs money to create will disappear, and we’ll be stuck with cat movies on YouTube.

So I’m open to some kind of legislation that helps shut down piracy. I don’t know whether this particular legislation is appropriate, legally or technically, because I haven’t read the bills and I can’t find an unbiased source to break it down for me.

I’m just saying let’s not all jump to conclusions just because we want free stuff.


I found a few stories that offer more information:

  1. Cartoonist Scott Adams is fascinated by the debate because it offers a window into how humans make decisions. Ultimately decides not to support the bills.
  2. David Pogue, the tech columnist at The New York Times, offers a balanced, responsible view, earning a barrage of hateful comments that Ron Paul’s supporters would be proud of.
  3. The Bloomberg View editorial page (which I agree with 100% of the time) says “anti-piracy legislation would only put a finger in the digital dike.”
  4. Joe Karaganis of The American Assembly offers some stats to support his view that business innovation is the answer, not legislation.
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