Here is what Alexis seemed to be saying in the interview.
- SOPA is bad for websites that rely on user-generated-content (and entrepreneurs like him)
- We (i.e. tech community) intimidated GoDaddy and forced them to back away from their support for SOPA
- One guy made a million dollars by requesting donations on PayPal instead of demanding payments from all users. This is a great example of innovation. The private sector should innovate like this guy (i.e. they should rely on business models that request payments, not require payments)
I realize that SOPA has zero support on HN and that my criticism of Alexis' interview-responses won't be popular. However, imo, a better approach to win public support would be to come up with specific solutions for the copyright problem and also acknowledge that copyright holders do have some legitimate concerns.
I don't want karma, I want useful criticism. We need to win public support. Granted, BloombergTV is far from mainstream, but we're taking babysteps.
We aren't for piracy, we're just aware of how futile trying to legislate against it is. I think we can make a case for this that articulates the genuine problem and still resonates with the average American.
> However, imo, a better approach to win public support would be to come up with specific solutions for the copyright problem and also acknowledge that copyright holders do have some legitimate concerns.
The types of solutions that are possible are the types they are least inclined accept. Piracy is not killable without taking away the ability to communicate privately and probably not even then. Soviet attempts merely lead to Samizdat, in spite of going to extreme lengths to track people down. Also, prior to the internet, copyright infringement was widespread over sneakernet. Attempts to control that via technical means merely taught a generation of kids how to crack software.
That's not to say there are no solutions. William Patry has a new book about copyright reform. There are new ways of doing business. For example, iTunes proved successful, in spite of the fact that anyone who wanted to could have downloaded the same songs for free. None of those things are stuff they want to hear, though. They don't want to change. They don't think they should have to change. But reality has the last word and reality has no qualms about being unfair.
Why not take a more radical approach, and deny that there is a copyright problem. The supposed losses of the entertainment industry are all based on the argument that whatever is downloaded is lost revenue. In fact revenue should be compared to sampling - you try out a lot of stuff, and only buy the best. But you do buy. I download hundreds of e-books that are not locally available in bookstores, I browse through them, and purchase the best ones through Amazon. I do a lot more buying than if I did no downloading, so it's a net gain for the publishing industry.
Now, the evidence points to the fact that downloaders are also the biggest buyers of CDs and DVDs. If you look at it that way, there have been no lost revenues, and in fact the entertainment industry has benefited immensely from free downloading, which has helped it to reach a much broader market.
Noam Chomsky once noted that the problem of the soundbite age is that some questions don't have simple answers that fit inside 30 seconds or 2 minutes.
The main problem with SOPA is that it is not possible to solve a market problem with legislation. Copyright infringement is a market problem, and markets are a lot more effective in delivering solutions than Governments. Consequently, SOPA will utterly fail to prevent copyright infringement, resulting in even MORE draconian laws sometime in the future.
Specific to the problem of music and film is that these markets are highly regulated oligopolies that use their market power to engage in price fixing. Unlike efficient markets, in which there are a range of different prices, the music and film markets only have two prices: Idiotically expensive and free (illegal).
Personally, I would LOVE to pay $1 per episode to watch my favourite HBO series at a time, and in a place of my own choosing. Sadly I cannot. Hence, I either don't watch it at all, or I obtain it by 'other' means. Monopolies/oligopolies only offer one price, and they are free to gouge their customers as long as they can prevent any competition in the market.
In other words, SOPA is NOT about preventing piracy (because that is a hopeless cause, much like the war on drugs), but about protecting the music and film industries illegal, anti-competitive price fixing practices (by way of preventing any other production/distribution of that type of media). Illegal price fixing is a small price that all Governments will gladly pay, as music and film support the propaganda/mythology creation industry of Government.
The simplest solution to prevent piracy would be to open the music and film markets to competition, but that is exactly what the RIAA and MPAA are trying to prevent.