Find tour dates and live music events for all your favorite bands and artists in your city! Get concert tickets, news and more!

  • Analytics
  • Tour Dates

Op-Ed: SOPA Blackout – By Bob Lefsetz

You don’t mess with the Web. Isn’t that what the battle between Napster and the music industry taught us? That despite having the law on your side you just can’t win?

Meanwhile, the pirating of music is in its sunset years. People will pay for streaming services just like they used to pay for push button phones and now pay for mobile handsets. It’s inevitable, it’s about convenience, but just don’t ask anyone in the content industries to see the future, they’re afraid of the past.

If it weren’t for the Web, Lana Del Rey never would have been on SNL. And you might think this is a good thing, but it’s Interscope’s worst nightmare. The dirty little secret is these media companies employ the Web to build buzz. And sure, they might trade this ability for a complete Internet shut down, but that ain’t gonna happen.

If you want to enter the future you don’t put on the brakes, you press down on the accelerator. But the only people doing this are computer-savvy youngsters, who are running circles around the old guard. Hell, hackers brought down Sony, Howard Stringer is gonna lose his job, do the members of Congress truly believe they’re impervious?

In a land where Congressmen are beholden to monied interests, swaying whichever way the Benjamins are blowing, and have better health care insurance than most Americans, the injustice is palpable. And people know. And are continuing to spread the word.

I used to say we’d have a revolution in America the day abortion was outlawed, god forbid. But if you want to see people revolt, take away their cell phones. And now it’s all about smart phones, with Net access, but in some misguided attempt to turn our country into China, the government wants censorship. But it’s worse that that. Innocent until proven guilty? That’s history. And now they want to spread that concept far beyond war criminals to you, the general public.

Oh, that’s not what they’re saying, they say it’s all about those damn foreigners. But did you ever notice the Web has no bounds, and you’re used to getting information from overseas, and once censorship begins, where does it stop?

Yup, you’ve got the dreaded law of unintended consequences.

I don’t think content should be free, but I refuse to put my head in the ground and believe the Internet does not exist, and that I can change it with laws.

This is a seminal moment in America. This is when the public gets power. Used to be, he with a broadcast license had power. That’s the essence of television and radio. But now, everyone’s got a license to broadcast, online. And this is what they’re afraid of, this is their worst nightmare. Gun nuts might think they need firearms to protect their rights, but rifles are no match for the Internet, where armies of people all over the world can band together to bring down governments and change policy.

Soon, it’s gonna be a government for and by the people. Sure, Citizens United is heresy, but the real story isn’t that money so much as the power of people to organize using modern communication methods to get their message out. Those Middle East despots were wealthy, but that didn’t keep their regimes from tumbling down.

A politician is no match for Google. Obama was smart enough to question SOPA. People love their Google, their Wikipedia. Make the Internet go dark and everybody knows. It’s like your cable going out, but worse. You can’t get a date, can’t expose your music, can’t discuss your favorite topic, can’t get the news…

That’s what everybody now uses the Net for.

It’s undeniable.

And it’s the best organizational tool known to man.

You’ve got to play nice with the people. Erect a wall and they’ll tear it down. Both old media and new is rife with stories of corporations who felt they didn’t have to listen to their customers. Those days are through. You’re in bed with the people, you’ve got to respect them, they’ve got the power.

And the ruling class doesn’t like this, to the degree it even understands this.