Things I Like That You Might Like Too: Pirates
Mar 2011 18

Things I Like That You Might Like Too: Pirates

Posted In Blog,Entertainment,Favorites,Geek,Internuts,Music

by Aaron Colter

Since I was old enough to legally get a job, I’ve been working for record stores, comic book shops, publishers, and magazines. If people didn’t pay for entertainment content, it’s unlikely that I would have had any of those jobs. Jobs which pay my rent, buy my beer, and allow me to support other artists. And as a current music producer, I sometimes fear the online culture of free has made it almost impossible for me to earn a living recording independent bands.

But, I like pirates.

Honestly, I don’t steal content very often. There are so many legal, free services available from the small-time artists I enjoy that I don’t have much need to sift through unknown files from potentially destructive users. Still, I understand why millions of people all over the world steal entertainment on a regular basis. It’s because too many major content providers are greedy, out-of-touch, and fucking stupid.

The solution is very simple – give us easy access to content at a reasonable price, or, yes, we will steal it. Like the prohibition of marijuana, criminalizing an act millions of your citizens participate in every day is a foolish, futile, and costly stance for any nation to take.

Cue a nation taking such a ridiculous stance in three, two, one . . .

The White House, in its apparent journey to completely disenfranchise the young, internet-led base that helped elect Barack Obama, recently suggested that people who illegally stream copyright material should be open to wiretaps and surveillance from the FBI.

This probably shouldn’t come as a shock since Obama has appointed several former RIAA lawyers to top positions within the Justice Department. But one should question the logic of a proposition that essentially equates car-bombings to rickrolling in terms of what the FBI has power to monitor.

Unfortunately, this kind of ill-advised course of action is becoming more and more prevalent in the last few years. Whether it’s the FCC’s abandonment of key issues like forcing providers to offer cable channels à la carte style or the horrendously weak net neutrality regulations that will allow NBC/Comcast to throttle bandwidth and dictate content (potentially killing competitors like Netflix), the technological advancement of consumer services is under attack.

Take Lala, for example. The innovative online service allowed users to purchase “streaming only” versions of entire albums for under $5. Apple bought the company in December of 2009 and shut-it-the-fuck-down in less than six months. Remember when Hulu was free and full of programs people actually wanted to watch? Services like that, and many more, are discontinued when executives decide they can squeeze a drop more blood from the stones of their customers.

Pirates exist because too many companies aren’t run by artists, but by corporate hacks who only care about profit. Thankfully some artists are cutting out the middle-men and turning to solutions like Bandcamp, as Amanda Palmer has done. Radiohead used to be a great example of how musicians can profit by asking for support from fans at any level, but their recent $9 for 30 minutes worth of In Rainbows B-sides release isn’t very uplifting.

In the end, I think the artist should ultimately decide how their work is distributed and for what price. Using the federal government to actively pursue pirates and the resources they use may temporary stem the loss of revenue from major companies, but it kills long-term innovation at best, and at worst is another example of politically motivated aggression against dissenting factions under the guise of economic security.

The Pirate Bay out of Sweden has been one of Wikileak’s strongest allies, not only hosting the leaked information, but also providing funding when PayPal, Visa, and Mastercard shut off their accounts to the global watchdog group. And the recent White House suggestion that foreign sites are some of the biggest threats to U.S. copyright indicates that the government might be concerned with files other than the latest Kanye West single.

The White House’s illegal streaming surveillance proposal is only one out of a lengthy list of reasons why I won’t be voting for Barack Obama in 2012. The continued torture of Brad Manning, the escalated occupation of Afghanistan, the sale of weapons to Saudi Arabia, the mandate for private health insurance without a public option, the seeming uninterested stance on bringing Wall Street executives to justice for committing the largest collective investment fraud in the history of human civilization, and so many other things are enough proof that Obama is not the change I had hoped for in 2008.

However, I have one final note on the subject of Barack Obama. It’s a personal message to some people I’ve seen interacting online.

Recently there was a rather disappointing number of comments on the SG Facebook Page that ranged from full-out calls to have the President assassinated, to suggestions that Obama isn’t an effective leader because he’s too busy being concerned with a college basketball tournament. I mean, thank god Black History Month doesn’t fall in-line with March Madness or else the only way you’d get the opportunity to learn about one of the most important segments of our nation’s past is if someone baited a copy of the “Letter from Birmingham Jail” with a winning lottery ticket and a pack of menthol cigarettes – and threw it into the BBQ potato chip stand at the corner Cash & Carry, right?

You’re all fucking stupid and you make me sad. Now here’s the part where I should tell you to drown your self in a sink, die in a fire, or eat rotten cottage-cheese until your bowels rupture inside your own body, which will then bloat for days in your un-air-conditioned apartment to the point that a black and creamy bile pours out of your lifeless mouth causing the neighbors to weep and vomit uncontrollably at the mere wisp of future dairy products hitting their nostrils.

But I’m not going to do that, because suggesting serious physical harm or death as an intelligent and right course of action for political disagreement would make me as dumb and cowardly as you are. Despite Barack Obama’s many faults as a President, he has made some progressive strides like repealing Don’t Ask Don’t Tell that I humbly appreciate. Furthermore, the closest he ever came to using his identity as a black man for public consideration was when he gave, quite possibly, the most intelligent and honest speech about the issue of race in America, when he was running for office in 2008.

I adamantly agree that portions of the United States government need to be limited, but once you say something that’s a thinly-veiled cry of “We should hang that nigger!” you lose all credibility. Forever. I’m not naive enough to think the entire country will suddenly respect people who have a different color of skin or want to fuck a member of their own sex. But, if you are one of those people who’s so incredibly un-evolved that you hate anything different from your homogeneous ethnicity and social environment, the least you can do is fire some of the most base reptilian synapses in your poorly wired brain to keep such disgusting, misplaced aggressive opinions to yourself so that the rest of us can work together to make life a little less shitty.

No one likes the government, Republican or Democrat. And it’s pretty obvious at this point in America’s history that we’re all being royally butt-fucked by the rich and powerful. So now that we all agree, let’s take chance on the whole civility concept in order to make real progress, okay?

Great, see ya next week.

***

If you have something that you think I might like that others might like too, please email youmightlike [at] gmail [dot] com.

What I’m reading: Ivy, Luna Park, Cartilage Head

What I’m listening to: Drippers by Black Moth Super Rainbow, American Bald Eagle by Soft Paws, Red Fang by Red Fang

What I’m drinking: Double Mountain Pale Ale, Rouge Dead Guy, Fat Tire

***

Related posts:
Things I Like That You Might Like Too: Pt. 1
Things I Like That You Might Like Too: Emerald City Comic Con

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