The “Stop Online Piracy Act”, if passed, will allow “content owners” (studios, TV networks and record labels mainly) to order entire websites taken down if anybody posts “pirated content” there or even links to same. With so many videos being uploaded to Youtube and the like, monitoring or pre-approving videos is impossible and Google is on record as saying this bill will kill off Youtube completely.
The existing piracy controls are bad enough: the “content owners” can issue take-down notices when they spot piracy, but as long as Youtube or the like takes the stuff down (barring a counter-notification), Youtube can’t be held legally responsible.
The classic role of the record companies going back to the first years of rock was to sign up a good bar band, lock ’em into a ghastly contract, get ’em radio time, promote the hell out of their album(s), get ’em concerts and pay them a relative pittance for the first few years. That was the norm.
That norm is breaking down because via Youtube and the like, brand new artists can connect directly with their audiences. The artist makes more money off of google adsense than they would as an obscure act on a large label, they can sell direct on iTunes or the like and they also sell CDs directly. Via the tracking on Youtube for number of views they build proof of their audience – which leads to either concert gigs and/or a contract with a record label that doesn’t rape them.
This is exactly what Justin Beiber did.
Here’s some other examples – pay attention to the number of views:
Ronald Jenkees – almost 8 million hits on that one song and over a quarter mil subscribers to his channel.
Andy McKee – 42 million views! He’s signed with a small label specializing in acoustic/folk, which is probably a much better deal than a major label.
This sort of thing is pure poison if you’re one of the execs at a big parasitic label. SOPA is how you stop it.
And it’s not just music – the same model is now breaking over into movies. The classic case so far is Freddiew – ever week he does a 2min or so video (usually “action”) and puts it on his Youtube channel, like so: Whose gun is it, anyway?
He has almost 3 million subscribers, over 500 million video views. He’s making enough cash off of google ads to pay himself and at least two others a full-time salary, plus finance the making of a full-length movie (in progress). He’s also gotten big enough to do web ads for the Battlefield games and did a spin-off of “Cowboys And Aliens” featuring the director of same.
In 10 years it’s a dead cinch Freddie will be directing more and better full-blown movies. No question. Will there be a studio as his “master”? I’d bet against it! He might well cut deals with direct-to-online outlets like Hulu, or sell exclusive-for-a-while rights to anybody from Netflix to DirecTV, and later break out completely into theaters.
THIS is the threat the major media sees out of Youtube – not piracy! They want to remain parasites between the artists and audience and will stop at nothing to prevent that…and they’ve bought off enough federal legicritters to be a threat to do it.
Note that this isn’t just “me talking” – researchers as highly placed as Harvard U are coming to very similar conclusions, at least as far as music goes.
PS: there is an alternate theory going around as to SOPA’s real ends that I think has some weight, but for reasons I’ll explain I think my theory is the more “dominant”. The other line of thinking is that “the powers that be” don’t like how much exposure of government abuses are being played on Youtube and the like.
I think this is a lesser factor, and might explain some quiet push being put on some of the legislators in the back rooms from the US-DOJ or the like. But it does not explain the fervent effort being put forward by all of the major media players in the music and movie industries. We know that’s where most of the money and lobbying for SOPA is coming from and again, this obvious connection between Youtube and the direct artist-to-audience links is a terrifying thing – for the parasites.