Someone recently gave me grief for the content here on my blog. My thought has always been when something comes up that is important to me, I’ll voice an opinion. The movies, the music, all that is important to me, which is why it has received first dibs on space here. Then there comes this issue on the internet and censorship and all that. So I figured I’d weigh in.
Censorship, if you ask me, is a dangerous road to head down. You start off with something small in order to solve what you believe to be a problem, in this case, online piracy. That seems all well in good. The problem is that it becomes a slippery slope. You then have to make decisions about what is considered piracy, who do you crack down on, how do you crack down on them? Who is patrolling this? Is someone going to sit around and police the internet, putting people in internet jail if they commit a crime? There are so many questions. But then how does this stop you from putting limits on everything else. Pretty soon, will you have to watch out for people who are posting blogs or on Facebook or similar sites? How long until free speech is infringed upon and we start over? Even in the case of the police in the real world, things get missed. Nobody is going to catch anything, so it seems to me that the idea of trying to do the same thing with the internet is rather foolhardy.
What if I say something like, “Obama is killing our country!”?
What if I say something like, “Politics in general are a waste of time. Politicians are killing our country!”?
The beauty of our country is that I can say that and shouldn’t have any issues, outside of people who see this and respond. Maybe this stirs something in someone. Maybe for the better. But I shouldn’t have to worry about someone knocking on my door next week to haul me off to prison for saying such things.
Look, I get it. As a musician I understand. If I were in a position where I was making money off my music, in a position where it was my only means of income, I’d probably have more of a passionate view on this. But as it is now, I think there are many musicians in the independent ranks who like that people make an effort to get their hands on their music. I don’t buy the argument that record sales don’t matter, because this is how labels and executives decide which artists to keep around, but I do think that there are musicians who’ve gotten huge without record sales to start off with. It all comes around to exposure, paid for, stolen or otherwise. But there is a breaking point. Eventually the money has got to start flowing, and if that were me, I’d be upset, too. I have no problem, for the record, with figuring out how to take care of piracy. I think a lot of strides have been done in this area. Certainly the problem has been solved, but then again neither has the issue of people driving faster than the posted speed limit, and people have been driving for a lot longer than they’ve been downloading music and movies from the internet. And you don’t see people calling for the outlawing of driving, but this is exactly where censorship of the internet would lead to.
One step leads to another, which leads to another and another, etc.
We do have problems to solve when it comes to the internet. But we’ve got to police the police and those who are in charge of keeping track of what is going on online. Otherwise, we run the risk of losing more freedom than I think even the musicians and producers would care to give up.