Once again a group is calling the US government to carve our personal freedoms and liberties like a Thanksgiving Day turkey.
‘What am I talking about?’ you might ask. Well I’ll be happy to explain. Ars Technica recently published that the Songwriters Guild of America is calling for FBI investigation of all potential piracy crimes because they investigate ‘lesser’ crimes like Bank Robbery. That’s right. Apparently robbing a bank is not nearly as big of a deal as downloading a file off the internet without putting an bit of money into someone’s pocket. I don’t see why I never saw it before.
Its hard to know where to begin. First, how about the fact that the FBI is involved in bank robberies because the banks are insured with a federal system. (FDIC) That’s specifically the reason why the FBI is involved in those actions. That being said, I am actually a little disappointed with Ars Techinca for not linking that article to the recent facts that completely change the whole dynamic of the argument. Not the least of which is that the government has admitted there is no way of substantiating the numbers being used in all of these arguments because there is no actual study been done to give solid evidence of the underlying numbers. None. That there is no single way to accurately measure the effects of piracy (And they refer to counterfeiting, not piracy, BTW. Piracy is even harder to track because it requires one to try and guess what percentage of the people might have actually purchased the content if it hadn’t been pirated. A number that is impossible to quantify.)
So where does that leave us? We have groups calling for blood and the slaughter of our rights as US citizens to protect money that they can’t even prove was an actual loss to them. Of course at this point they’ll respond with things like ‘Between loss of material sales, job positions and similar task items, the music industry is losing tens of billions of dollars per year to piracy’. The problem with this statement is that it assumes that the person making downloading the content would have purchased the materials otherwise. Something that can not be assumed. There is no way of knowing the mind of someone and what they might do if the content was not available for free.
The worst factor in this is not only the trampling of rights, but the complete misuse of power. The large media organizations like SGA, MPAA and the RIAA are clamoring about lost funds, and how its being stolen from the songwriters. The problem is, none of the money gained through things like litigation or the proposed changes to law that stamp on our rights, have any benefit to the songwriters they claim are being hit he hardest. Very rarely does a penny of that money go to the people actually making the content. Instead if falls completely into the pocket of the groups complaining.
Now who’s the thief?