SOPA’s Not The Fix, But Latinos Should Care About The Problem
By José Cruz, OurTiempo.com
Yesterday everyone jumped online to protest SOPA and PIPA anti-piracy bills, new acts that would allow U.S. internet providers to block access to mostly foreign websites with illegal pirated content. The act has been demonized as being anti-freedom of speech and in protest many websites from Google to Wikipedia blacked out their logos and even pages in protest. Are they right in being concerned, yes.
But in the midst of all of this there is a huge issue they are ignoring.
The entertainment industry has been in a state of decline for the past decade. Free sites that post films in theaters are crippling revenue. While it is easy for us to jump on the bandwagon against big media corporations, in doing so we forget how this does trickle down to us and our community.
Latino film makers and producers are struggling to create projects and artists are hurting in what has long been an incredibly competitive business. Our community is the first to call for better representation, yet when we look at legislation that could assist in protecting the livelihood of the artistic community we call foul.
The film and gaming industry is facing the same problem the music industry faced a decade ago with Napster and they need to evolve. But under the current lack of laws an independent film maker can release a film, charge for it on their own website, only to have a site across the globe steal it and offer it for free. Not only does that director not recoup her investment, but someone who didn’t do any work other than to steal a download, gets ad revenue off their site.
We all have seen the power of the internet as a tool of free speech, and it scares me to think that a site could be blocked for unwittingly posting something that violated copy-right infringements. But let’s get real here. This has gotten to a point where it is killing an industry that we all love. Something needs to be done.
Latinos are one of last and highest attending movie audiences. I’d like to see it survive. I’m not worried about Tom Cruise’s paycheck, but I am worried about an entire community of working actors, directors and technicians who deserve to be compensated for the work they do in giving me an hour and a half of great entertainment.