YCombinator has declared war on Hollywood claiming that they will do a lot of damage to the web on the way out as new media models start to take over the industry. The question is declaring war on Hollywood the right thing to do. For some, yes it is, for others we need to stop and think about it for a minute, and work out what demands we really want from Hollywood before we go all halfcocked and start looking like “occupy anything”, disorganized and disjointed.
Really what is happening is that the Entertainment industry, which I have supported with my legal streaming from Netflix, the amazing amount of DVD’s and CD’s over my life time, the support I give them just about every day while I am being “entertained’ has turned into modern day Luddites. They are smashing the machinery of technology because they are afraid of what is to come. They do not want to die as an industry because it is so profitable, and so much fun, and opens so many doors and gateways to power both political and economic. Of course any industry that has been wildly profitable is going to want to protect itself by any means, fair or foul. SOPA/PIPA is just the beginning, and much like NDAA something like this will pass in the dead of night, quietly signed by the president on a holiday when people are not paying attention.
It is in Hollywood’s best interest to have a bill like this, not just to control, but to preserve what they have in the face of stunning technological change that much like the luddites of 1811, is scary, dangerous, and seriously upsets the current status quo.
It is not in YCombinators best interest to try to destroy Hollywood. As Ben Parr states, it is another short sighted way of addressing a problem.
Let’s drop the rhetoric, and drop the pretenses, and call it a day. Hollywood’s very existence is based on Piracy, the same kind of piracy that they are facing now. They might be acting like Luddites and wanting to smash the machines that are taking away their livelihood, this is a normal reaction, it shows that Hollywood is human. But like all fearful people, there is going to be a lot of damage done as it walks out the door and downsizes significantly from the machine that is has become.
The things we need to fear is there will be attempts like this all the time until Hollywood dies a natural death. Chris Dodd can go and wander the halls of Washington DC legally in 2013, which means there is basically a year left, and an election year at that where people will be distracted. If Hollywood was unable to get this to pass in a non-election year, the odds of seeing something like this in 2012 is pretty slim. That does not mean that something will not be shoved through the law making process in the dead of night with no debate and no notice that something like this would even be in the works. The amendments to bills are an amazing process, and a single representative could shove SOPA into a bill that gets signed by the president much like NDAA was.
The other thing to fear is the lethargy of the American People, and the lack of mainstream news on subjects like this. While we are entertained by lolcats videos, the commentary on Wikipedia going dark was amazing to see, people were blissfully unaware of what the protest was even all about. The combination of lethargy (the inability to come to any conclusion about what is happening in DC and the seemingly vast gulf between the governed and the governors) and the lack of mainstream news items relegate discussions like this amongst a very small intellectual elite on both sides. We have technology people who are very aware of SOPA/PIPA and NDAA, and we have the Entertainment Industrial Complex and others who are also aware of all this as well. With all apologies to the Young Turks and Keith Obermann, the mass message is not getting through to ordinary people. We are not mobilizing the masses; our messages stay amongst the intellectual informed elite. This is to the arguments detriment, we need to find a mass appeal, we need to be able to energize the mass populace, that means we need to change our message to the lowest common denominator.
If YCombinator wants to take on Hollywood, do it through Kickstarter and Indie-a-go-go. Put your money where your mouth is and start funding independent movie projects. Do like Amazon does, put aside a big pool of money and start funding projects that stand a chance of producing Hollywood level entertainment. Build a TV Channel and fund the programs much like the FOX channel did in the 1980’s. Just remember, don’t become all Hollywood when your stuff shows up in torrent channels, or shared on YouTube.
- Hello ACTA, SOPA, PIPA and NDAA; Anonymous and Occupy are coming for you (destructionist.wordpress.com)
- YCombinators places a bounty on Hollywood’s head (likeabanana.wordpress.com)
Ben Parr, Chris Dodd, Hollywood, National Defense Authorization Act, Washington DC, Y Combinator, Young Turks, YouTube