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The Internet is a beautiful invention that allows all people, (at least those with access to computers and smart phones; everybody except the real poor that is) to express themselves, spreading their own music, films, art and words online. If you’re not making any art yourself you can use the web to expose your own taste in music, films, fashion, politics or whatever by using social networks. That’s fun and almost everybody does it.  Billions of songs, movies, books and works of art are exposed through sites like Facebook every day. It’s not like that didn’t happen in the days before the Internet; it just happens a lot quicker and easier today. I wouldn’t have read more than 1% of the books I love, if friends would not have recommended them. Same goes for music. In this case it means even more, since my taste in music determines large parts of my identity, like my taste in fashion and politics. It also directed me towards a circle of friends that share my tastes and opinions. One doesn’t necessarily need to embrace everything a certain style of music propagates, but it at least exposes a person to new and fresh ideas. And one tends to picks up the things that appeal to you most. That’s freedom. And it’s the only form of freedom we have in this consumer paradise. One can’t really determine the way one lives. If that was the case I’d be a hunter/gatherer instead of a consumer. But at least I’m free to choose what I want to hear, see and wear.

Surprisingly it now becomes obvious the Internet can also be used to control and repress. It can be used to force a lifestyle upon you made up by other less benign beings.  A lifestyle that keeps you away from fresh new ideas and only exposes you to music made by today’s’ hit machines,  Disney movies, the Bible, clothing approved by fundamentalist Christians and/or Muslims, Bob Ross pictures and the political view of the Christian right-wing.

It is kinda bizarre that the same music industry that once propagated new ideas about freedom now wants to stop that same freedom in its tracks. It’s understandable that illegal downloading of music and movies is a problem, but confronting this problem by barring all forms of free exposure results in an Internet that exposes music, movies and in the end also ideas sold and approved only by big business. That way the Internet turns into a stale, boring, predictable and ultimately dead community; nothing more than a marketing tool that reduces your freedom instead of enhancing it.

Market mechanisms like supply and demand can actually go against the interests of big business. People want to taste new ideas, music, movies etc. for free. There’s a big demand for that. But the industry wants to regulate the supply. This form of regulation is where the real power lies. That is the real reason S.O.P.A. almost got passed. The Majors don’t like it when you’re exposed to music  they don’t promote themselves by finding it in you tube, Last FM, Spotify or Facebook. They want you to listen to the radio instead because they got the DJ’s in their pocket; D.J’s only play music produced by the majors. Payola may be outlawed but some animals are still more free than others.

It’s control that counts. There’s a revolution going on that strips big business of its power and S.O.P.A. was mend to stop all that. S.O.P.A. helps them regain the power to promote your music, movies, books clothing and art exclusively.  No exposure unless you’re promoted by a big media company. This allows big business to keep music nice and uncritical, keeps the same Hollywood crap rotating in cinemas, makes sure books with critical content are not read, bans computer programs that allow you to express yourself, or hide under the radar if necessary, and again makes art a plaything for the rich and powerful.

The rich want the power back they lost to the masses. They want a small elite with narrow-minded ideas to decide how you should behave and think. They don’t want any form of real freedom rampant on the Internet or anywhere else. Regardless of how much they love to use the word freedom in their own propaganda. In their eyes Liberalism is nothing more than the liberty to impose the goods they produced and to block ways to obtain free stuff.

You Tube, Facebook, Spotify, Last Fm; all these networks will be over if we don’t raise our voices now! We can’t afford to wait since it’s just a matter of time before governments around the globe will succumb to the lobby of big business and pass acts like S.O.P.A. in your respective countries.

Listen to Clay Shirky on TED explaining the real purpose of SOPA and PIPA here

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