Oh, this is a good one…the IFPI (International Federation of Phonographic Industries) along with the Motion Picture Association has proposed a “code of conduct” for your internet service provider to abide by. The “code” involves lovely activities such as filtering, spying and handing over your name and address to a giant corporation’s lawyers, all in the name of “social responsibility.”
Of course the real problem here, as far as the IFPI and MPA’s are concerned, is that the entertainment delivery technology is changing again, only this time they don’t control the means to get you to buy your favorite records and movies for the third or fourth time.
When we went from vinyl to CD, the record industry was there waiting patiently to take your cash for all of those Beatles and Led Zeppelin CD’s, and the MPA welcomed the switch from tape to DVD for the same reason.
Now though, the rules have all changed, and the record industry is shitting bricks because all of their back catalogs (which is where all of their quality product lives) are now available digitally, and they have effectively been removed from the loop.
Sure, they can sell you the only good song from the latest Madonna record on itunes or napster, but you ain’t going to hand over $20 for the rest of it, and that little factoid fills them with blind, abject terror, and their only response is to seek out strongarm methods to frighten you into sending more money their way.
Broadband internet connections killed the record industry. Every 15 year old knows that they can sell their band’s music directly to their fans without going into debt to a multinational corporation to do it, and without paying the 20th century middleman/bookie his vig.
You would have to be out of your mind to sign a contract with a big record company these days, and more and more musicians are realizing that every day.
So the big companies are forced to look for other ways to bleed you, and right now the preferred method is fear of litigation and intimidation. The next big stick they will beat you over the head with is a tax on your broadband connection.
Don’t believe me? Perhaps you are forgetting that every time you buy blank recording media, part of that money goes to these companies (this goes back more than 20 years with audio cassettes). Depending on which country you live in, you may also be paying these companies when you buy recording hardware – a cassette deck, VCR, CDR or MP3 encoding device (that’s your iPod, pal). So it’s not much of a step from where we are right now to a global bandwidth tax.
I have to admit though, this “code of conduct” borders on (evil) genius. Who wouldn’t be thrilled to come up with a way to force people to pay for their mediocre product whether they want it or not? I wish I had thought of it. There may still be a way to get a tenth of a penny from every internet user every time I post something here…I have to get to work on that.
Start prying those wallets open!