Posted by: Rob | June 18, 2008

Internet: The Final Frontier?

Much has been made over the last one to two decades about the internet. This was to be the final frontier (at least on earth) and was to remain free of regulation and other inconvenient interventions by government. Well, in someone’s dream that was how it was to be.

Word is out now about the legislation penned by the ruling Conservatives in Canada (a minority government, no less) that fairly echoes that nice little bit of law cobbled together down in the US – none other than the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.

I really don’t get this stuff. I mean, sure, I was in on the early days of downloading and added a few poorly ripped, low audio quality tunes to my library. But I quickly grew disenchanted with the whole ordeal of finding the tunes I wanted. Not to mention gutting it out on slow downloads over a dial up internet connection. But eventually, it just seemed a whole lot easier to simply buy the CD’s I liked or borrow them from the public library.

I read with a low level of interest about the RIAA in the US going after rabid music file sharers. Frankly, I couldn’t believe it. My own opinion of the RIAA and its members is that they are a bunch of leeches who’ve had it easy living off the backs of those with loads of talent (and perhaps only a little business acumen). That they are dinosaurs caught flat footed by the advent of the digital age…well, gee, that’s just too bad isn’t it?

Personally I don’t care that much about popular culture anymore (a fact not lost on my young adult children), either movies or music. Now I know that art and culture have a place in our society – our world would be dull indeed without it – but come on. There’s been a veritable explosion in the number of musical acts in the last decade or two. Let’s face it. They’re can’t all be that good, can they? Yes, diversity is good. But still. Our culture has provided an incentive for just about any do-nothing wannabe to pick up a guitar and think they’re truly going to be a rock star.

Movies are no different. In my opinion, the quality of film coming out of places like Hollywood has done nothing but dive of late. It is very difficult to find a film to watch that’s worthy of the two or so hours of my life that I’m willing to spend on it, not to mention the price of admission. There is just so much tripe out there. Bad scripts, bad acting, bad everything.

I don’t watch TV anymore, but I could editorialize a bit about the choices on satellite that have been available to me in recent years. We would often joke about how out of five hundred channels, there was absolutely nothing to watch. Truthfully, it was probably the writer’s strike that ended my TV watching. (Well, that and being a newlywed.)

So, in the face of so much crap on offer, I can hardly fathom why elements of our society are spending so much time, energy, effort and money devising ways to criminalize natural human behaviour. I mean this is – at its base or core – really just fluff. It’s nothing important. Nothing we can’t live without. Not like food or clothing or shelter. You know. Basic human need stuff.

I, for one, am about ready to just drop the whole digital media thing. My internet presence is pretty limited. I have e-mail. I read a few blogs. I write on a blog. I do some casual research. I may even read some news from time to time. So it’s not like the whole push on stopping “downloading” is going to have any real impact on my life. Unless you count the extra hours spent at international border crossings waiting for some official to snoop through my iPod or laptop looking for “illegal” copies of digital media. I really don’t have that kind of time to waste and I will resent the intrusion.

The Conservative’s bill is laughable. It’s almost like a trial balloon, floated in the dying days of the current session of Parliament to gauge public reaction. It’ll die on the order paper when the Commons lets out for the summer and if there’s sufficient hue and cry among the great unwashed masses I highly doubt that it will be back. At least the ruling party (the darling of Big Business) will be able to say with a straight face, “Hey. Look. We’re trying to help out and protect your obscene profits here.”


  1. *pssst* Rob… your libertarianism is showing. (and i’m with you on that).

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