And They Want To Fuck With Our Shit
Unless things change soon, EMI and other multinational distributors are going to successfully bully our government into introducing unprecedented censorship to our internet access. To date, the only comparable action was Eircom’s voluntary blocking of the Pirate Bay, a result of an out-of-court settlement with distributors.
While the whole country, or even continent, is distracted by economic upheaval, a corporation is taking it’s chance to change our laws to tell private citizens what they can and can’t download, but only in the context that it affects them. There are no morally defensible considerations of blocking content that’s harmful to any society here. It’s just about protecting profits.
What They Want
They want the government to block sites that are accused of allowing people to download films and music illegally. There is no indication anywhere of what that constitutes. Chances are, anything from hosting a copy of a movie on a server to providing a link to a torrent file will fall under the law. That’s a lot of assuming, all I have to go on is how utterly pathetic the Irish Government have been in relation to all things internet-based, and what would be the best possible solution for EMI, which is what they’ll probably get.
Why is that Bad?
Censorship is, and should be, a controversial subject every time it’s rolled out.
In countries like China and Iran, people aren’t allowed to view sites that promote civil liberties or female emancipation, or criticise the government.
In Ireland, if the new laws come in, you may not be allowed view a site that somebody once used to post a link to a download of Click, starring Adam Sandler.
Citizens free access to information will be subject to the protection of the interests of multinationals.
They say that in the last 6 years, piracy has cost them €60,000,000 in CD sales.
They haven’t provided any.
Now I’m not thick, and I know there are people out there who will download music instead of buying a CD. Some people will even do this exclusively. Another part of not being thick is being aware of services like iTunes, Amazon, Play.com. People are buying CDs online from abroad because it’s easier, and perhaps to an extent because shopping somewhere like HMV has the leisure appeal and personal touch of getting groceries in Aldi.
Also, people are buying downloadable albums instead of CDs because, let’s face it, CDs are a bit shit in this day and age. “What’s that? You want to me to pick up a physical object that stores one album on it and put it in something? And which Flintstones dinosaur gag plays this music?”. CDs are on the way out because they are now a sub-standard way to experience music, with .flacs and .mp4s offering better-than-CD music quality, unrivalled mobility and, vitally, not taking up half the shelves in your sitting room.
Davey you condescending bastard, EMI know all that!
You’re right, they do. They act like they don’t, because it suits them, but they do. They know that we do things digitally now, so of course they’ve altered their strategy to meet the demands of the modern consumer. For a shining example of their great digital strategy, let’s got to the wonderful, emimusic.ie . Please, open it in a new window, so you can read this at the same time, and we can enjoy it together.
Isn’t it beautiful! Look at all the information, look at all the music, why, there are ten whole albums being promoted! Seriously though, here’s a list of criticisms:
- There’s almost no content, ten tiny bits of info, and three tiny news articles.
- If you click on the covers of the ten albums, 7 of them will bring you to a 404 error page, because they weren’t written properly. Not only were they too fucking lazy to make proper links, they were too fucking lazy to see if they worked.
- The copyright date hasn’t been updated this year, see bottom left. Hey EMI! I thought you were going to marry copyright some day. Doesn’t look like it.
- Ha! Just noticed the huge Pink Floyd link is broken too. Stupid cunts.
- It looks like shit.
The Best Bit
Now, under those ten albums you see a bunch of links, “Buy”. Click on them there now.
Where do they take you? The Bosco one goes to the RTE shop. The other nine ALL. GO. TO FUCKING. ITUNES.
Surely EMI, so protective of CD sales, would be providing us with a list of brick and mortar stores where we can go and buy shiny discs packed full of about an hour of music? Are they not doing everything they can to protect CD sales? No of course they aren’t. If I wasn’t such a diplomatic lad, I might say something like the following:
“EMI are a bunch of lazy, greedy bastards. They can’t be bothered to do digital right and they can’t be bothered to drum up business for music retailers in the Republic who actually stock their wares. Rather than get their shit together, they want to fuck with our internet instead. They’d rather just shut down all the filesharing services than even pretend to try to provide a better alternative. They should not, and must not, be allowed to fuck with our shit. Any government official who complies with their demands is either completely incompetent when it comes to the web, or hopelessly resigned to protecting the rights of corporations over the rights of citizens. In either case, they aren’t fit to do their job”.
The original article that got me angry is here on the Irish Times