SOPA, PIPA and solving the wrong problem

I still don’t understand all I know about the U.S. House of Representatives’ “Stop Online Piracy Act” and the U.S. Senate’s equivalent “Protect IP Act” as they’ve been called. I know they did what many hackers have not been able to do, shut down some major Internet sites.

I do happen to know a little bit about intellectual and artistic property rights, copyright, and the piracy of such. My dad, Tim Holt (thanx Wikipedia) and grandad Jack Holt (again I thank you Wikipedia) were both movie actors from the early days of the motion picture industry. I receive no royalty from their work, however their work continues to enhance the fortune of Ted Turner and Warner Brothers. And good for them. Their work remains alive through cable and DVD and that means a lot to me for moral reasons not monetary. Those were the contracts of the time. The contracts adapted over time and I receive royalties from work I did over twenty years ago through the Screen Actors Guild.

The point I make is that SOPA and PIPA are not designed to address the problem. This problem actually concerns most every business and government entity in some form or fashion, worldwide. I have been saying for probably three years now, the issue is not adapting the Web for your business, it is adapting your business to the Web.

Following the logic of SOPA/PIPA automobile, airplane, boat, and road builders would be liable for prosecution because drug smugglers use their equipment. I understand how someone who warehouses digital material for unlimited distribution could be liable, Megaupload.com, but that also shows that the laws are already on the books. But should we arrest the guy laying asphalt because the guy that robbed the bank used his road for the getaway? I think not.

Now, my son Tim, who is a composer and a musician, would love nothing more than for people to find value in his work. Don’t we all? And as a starving grad student any consideration he will greatly appreciate, but stealing it is just not right. And that actually says more about us as a networked society than it does about the pirates or the industry. The transparency of the Networked Age is remarkable. Do you really want to be part of a society that condones stealing? I don’t. Do we need more law to correct those misguided? No. So what is the problem and who is responsible for solving it?

Again I say, we must stop working to adapt the Web to our business and start working to adapt our businesses to the Web. As the Screen Actors Guild did for actors in adapting the motion picture industry to a more fair economic model, it is for the digital media producers to develop ways to protect their investments. The banker doesn’t leave bags of money sitting on the sidewalk for the thief to steal. It is his responsibility to protect his, and others’, investment. Digital property requires digital protection. The technology is there, it is our tactics and procedures that have not kept pace.

Apple has a solution with its iTunes model and Absio has a solution with its Concert software. This is the innovation that creates new tactics and procedures to deal with the new problems of the new digital environment of the Networked Age.

Remember, quit trying to adapt the Web to your business and spend your resources adapting your business for the Web.

That’s what I’m thinking. Alex Howard has a thought provoking piece as does John Tarnoff and his point of value to the marketplace.

Your thoughts?

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About Jack Holt

Coach, teacher, mentor and an all around curious fellow.
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