How I stopped worrying and learned to love the Stop Online Piracy Act
Unless you’ve been living under a rock you will have heard about the legislation that they are trying to rush through in the States right now to curtail the rise of online piracy using methods which really are best described as draconian. I’ve been deeply concerned about this as it looks potentially to be the death of user generated content and innovation within the tech sector – something I’ve been part of for over twenty years.
Well I’ve had at attitude readjustment, I’m going to go with the flow and embrace what i just realised is the future of business models for the content world.
You see the the anti-SOPA lobby have assumed that the MPAA / RIAA (collectively known as the MAFIAA) weren’t willing to adapt and viewed folk like Anonymous as a threat. That sending letters to individuals a-la ACS-LAW wasn’t a viable strategy. Turns out we were wrong. They actually saw an opportunity. They watched, they learned and are proposing a new model even more impressive than the good old ‘Denial of Service’ attack the hackers use.
(Denial of Safe Harbour)
This new ‘model’ is fantastic especially as you need virtually NO technical, creative or legal skills to play. It’s truly open and democratic.
Here’s how it works and how I plan to make millions! (so don’t tell anyone!)
STAGE 1 – A&R
- Create some ‘music’. Highly recommend GarageBand autoplay instruments. Since a 4 year old can use it, it shouldn’t take more than a couple of minutes to make a tune.
- For a one time fee of $35 dollars register your opus with copyright.gov – you can do it online so no need to move off the couch/stool.
- Go to Tunecore and get it popped on iTunes for 99c . Make sure you come up with a cool sounding name for your band and label – I’m going with ‘Cognitive Dissonance’ for the band and ‘RogueDoSHRecords’ – am thinking my first track will be ‘Legalise Extortion’ again please don’t steal it as I haven’t registered it yet.
- Go to WordPress (if it still exists) and create your label site – to be honest you don’t have to do much more than say ‘welcome to… XX records home of YY’ and pop some copyright notices everywhere and a link to iTunes.
- Have a cocktail – you are now in that elite group – the Content Owner!
- Enlist some friends to help out and repeat 1-5 with them – I’m guessing 10 mates/labels would be enough for most situations – a mini Anonymous if you will.
- At this point you *could* try and get folk to buy your tune but frankly it isn’t worth the effort instead each of you upload the others tracks to YouTube and/or create some torrents.
- So far I reckon they should have taken about a day of ‘real’ time, some hangover recovery time plus however long it takes to get the copyright approved.
STAGE 2 – Exercise your Rights
- All you have to do is find a bunch of blogs ( any site on any subject will do these days that allow comments) and get your mates to pop some links to your track on YouTube or to the torrent.
- Send the site owner an email accusing them of being ‘Dedicated to infringement’ – and that you will NOT report them to their ISP, payment partner etc if they hand over I dunno – $1000 bucks sounds fair.
- Now at this point you would expect the site owner to take it down, if they do just pop it up again ( or even better pop one of your mates tracks up to confuse them. )
- After you’ve done this a few times you announce that you have got a some class-action from a bunch of legacy sounding labels including ‘Phonographic Memories’, ‘The Long Tail Players’, ’8 Track Marks ‘, ‘Tape me up, Tape me down’, ‘Cassette My Ass’ and of course the hip-hop label ‘MP3some’.
- Give them one last chance to pay up (it’s going to cost them $5k now btw)
- If they DO pay up – wait a couple of days /weeks and repeat with some new labels until they just give up and shut down
- If they DON’T pay up shop them to their ISP and Payment partner who are so inundated with these claims that they’ll have no choice but to close the infringing scum down, just in case it’s legit. Don’t worry about needing legalese I’m sure you will be able to find a form letter online to help you out – no lawyers required!
- Repeat on as many sites as you feel like, the smaller the better of course. I’m thinking of going for gardening blogs myself – the poor dears won’t know what hit them.
I imagine a motivated team of ten could manage a few dozen each a day while sitting in the pub. Even with a 10% conversion rate you’ll make a load of cash, secure in the knowledge that those who didn’t play ball won’t be able to make any money for themselves! Win Win!
You can of course do this with anything that can be copyrighted so feel free to make some films of you and your mates celebrating in the pub (Dogma movies are due for a resurgence anyway) and copyright them – go for it! You’ve even got the soundtracks ready made so you can pop a compilation out. Even Better! You are now ‘Multimedia Copyright Owner’ – diversification is everything in this day and age.
And there you have it – as far as I can tell under SOPA its totally legal – we as Copyright Owners and we are entitled to get paid without having to sell even ONE bit of content, attract ONE fan or play ONE gig. Superb. We truly have entered The Golden Age of Copyright.
If anybody says ‘Conspiracy to defraud’ just say ‘The left hand didn’t know what the right hand was doing’ or better yet ‘the tea-boy is going to lose his job UNLESS we do it’.
Go on – try this at home!
the business model for the post-modern creative!
And that’s why I’ve learned to stop worrying and love SOPA, it’s going to make things so much better.