Ha! I found it! I’m pretty sure one of us mentioned a story—hypothetical or not, I can’t remember—of a bakery getting shut down for making birthday cakes with Disney characters depicted on them. Well this TED talk starts with that very tale, and it’s true and crazy! They got in trouble for printing replicated child’s drawing of Mickey Mouse on a cake. A cake with a kid’s drawing of god-damned Mickey Mouse on it is illegal. Big Disney. After this anecdote, speaker Clay Shirky, goes on to tell why SOPA and PIPA is a bad idea and how it aims to “raise the cost of copyright compliance, to the point where people simply get out of the business of offering it as a capability to amateurs.” He also explains the origins of the bills and how it will ultimately fail while causing all sorts of digital censoring problems. He makes a great point about how Americans—and all citizens for that matter— want to produce, not simply consume. And xerox machines, tape recorders, and other new technology scared the hell out of media moguls, because it empowered citizens to copy, edit, and resell intellectual property. Now in the digital era, those means to remix have multiplied and became widely available. SOPA and PIPA are the media companies’ newest attempt to police us. I realize the bills didn’t pass, but something similar will likely reappear in the near future. Media companies stand to gain millions of dollars over a unjustly censored internet, and they have millions of dollars at their expense to lobby for future bills. As Clay says, “Get ready, because more is coming.”

 

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