February 07, 2007 |
Police forces worldwide have never really been… accepted. They carry those polished batons around, they always appear to square their shoulders, as if they’re a different breed. Sometimes they do very commendable acts. More often they give us tickets. They do stupid things as well. Here’s a case in point.
EU commission wishes to bring looseness of Internet video regulation in check. In short, they want to clamp down on us YouTube crazies. They think we’re hoodlums in dire need of imprisonment, albeit with virtually forged bars and the like. Thankfully, some Internet-savvy and logical chaps and gals in the House of Lords have their heads on right and declare the commission’s argument poppycock and its members “seriously misguided”.
The counter argument made by the House of Lords committee? That a crack down on a new market at a milestone moment in technology history would stifle innovation, investment, and lots of other things that start with ‘i’. They say, “’burdensome and inappropriate’ rules risked damaging the thriving British new media industry.”
While I give an enthusiastic “Hear, hear!” to that statement, I can’t help but think about the effect of worldwide governmental rule on Internet-based media, other than the inevitable taxation that will come to fruition sometime in the future. Come to think of it, tax – or a lack of it – might be the very thing that’s got the EU commissions pants in a bunch.
The Internet is really just plain monstrous. There’s no getting your head around it. You only have the option of jumping into the great big fishbowl. And, as media-friendly bandwidth figures start becoming a reality for millions and millions of people around the world, they’re going to want to experiment with more virtual media; whether from their desks or from the living room couch. In the US, companies like Netflix, Amazon, Apple, and CinemaNow are allowing you the choice to download movies straight to your PC. In short time, you’ll be able to watch those videos directly on that big new plasma you bought with your year-end bonus in way that’s as easy as ordering up Pay-per-view flicks. I’m sure that over in Europe the prospects of such a convenience are also in full view.
But those things are all but taken care of in terms of rules and copy protection and all that fun stuff. Instead, it’s the user-submitted and viral video that’s got the commission with the sweats. They don’t know what to do with it. When you’re afraid, you tense up. When you’re tense, you sometimes say things that don’t make much sense and aren’t realistically viable if your desire is to maintain growth in industry, however old or new.
I’m sure there are plenty of lobbyists from big name corporations trying to bring down the rebels of the Internet down, squashing any kind of revolution or big shift on which they can’t make far too much money. I mean, who are we to question their power? How dare we try to pull a fast one on them.
The thing is, these moments always come along. There have always been big disturbances in our markets, and there will be plenty more in the future. What would be terrible is if lawmakers’ fear of change really did result in the capping of an industry’s potential.
Piracy’s never going to stop. What would cut it down a bit though would be the abolition of the DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) and more reasonable pricing to boot.
What’s discomforting is this EU commission’s presumption that a major of us out here on the WWW are crooks and need restriction to help them make the boards at Vivendi and BMI feel safe in their old skin again. Unfortunately for them, our hordes outnumber their hordes – by about a million to one – so if anyone’s going to have to compromise and adapt, it’ll have to be those with those oh-so-burdensome golden parachutes strapped to their backs.