Dear Big Content,
I love your movies. Especially the ones that are all s’plodey and where stuff flies off the screen. And I love your records, the Led Zeppelin catalog in particular. I’ve always been a good customer: I don’t infringe, and I’m loyal to a fault. But I do have a few questions for you.
First, why do you treat me and my friends like punks? We buy your stuff. But you make it really hard to do it in a way that fits with our digital reality. I’m looking at you, movie and TV peeps. You really want me to accept the violation of a decades-old consumer compact whereby we could rent a movie on the same day it was available to purchase? Do you really think that making me wait TWO MONTHS to be able to rent Mars Needs Moms on DVD (I’m not even talking streaming) is going to drive me into Best Buy to plunk down for the petrochemical disc? Do you secretly like piracy? Because that’s exactly what you’re encouraging.
And music guys: how come you create the conditions where there are only three companies that can afford to offer your wares? Do you know how much fucking money you’re leaving on the table by clinging to your prehistoric licensing terms? Once upon a time there was this disruptive, infringing technology called radio. Completely freaked song publishers out. They wanted to force every broadcaster to pay an individually negotiated amount for every spin. In hindsight, that seems not only inefficient but imbecilic. Maybe the government needs to step up and prod you goofballs towards more internet-friendly terms. I bet you could even keep your car service! Now, I know that you fought the phonograph. And the CD. And the MP3. But you don’t have much fight left in you. So the time to get your shit together is probably now. And yes, me and my friends will be paying VERY close attention to make sure that the artist splits are fair. Because frankly, I’m not all that convinced that you’re providing much value anymore. Consider this your opportunity to be cut into the future while you still have a chance.
And would you please get a basic grasp of how the internet works? Why are you so keen to demonize an entire class of technology? Let’s take search for example. I can look up a recipe to make hash brownies. Or I can look up a recipe to make regular brownies. Now, we all know that those criminal scumbags offering the former must be dealt with in the severest possible manner. But what you’re proposing is like blowing up the entire library because you don’t like that the card catalog system tells you which shelf has the book on hash brownies. Are you really this boneheaded? I get that you’re jealous about Google making bajillions from search. But is that a reason to compromise a mechanism upon which millions of global internet users rely? I guess it’s true what they say: the entertainment industry isn’t all about the money — it’s about ALL the money.
Also, could you please stop pretending that the SOPA/PIPA debacle was about Silicon Valley vs. Hollywood? (Or, as you prefer to characterize it, homespun creators vs. Google.) Literally millions of internet users — many of them copyright holders — had issues with your overreaching bills. They didn’t jump into a controversial intellectual property debate because they wanted to. They felt compelled to, due to the fact that big-money industry lobbying groups like yours were attempting to speak for them.
So kindly cut it out.
I want to be your friend. But you don’t make it easy. The arrogance, belligerence and outright bullying that you employ is hardly endearing yourselves to an entire new generation of creators and rightsholders. If I wasn’t so goddamn genteel, I’d go ahead and list some of that stuff. But unlike you, I have a modicum of class.
Consider this a friendly bit of advice from someone who cares. The road you’re going down leads to disaster and heartbreak. But it’s not too late to turn around.