Everybody Draw Mohamed Day and Fuck the RIAA

You look at this and you say this is insane. It’s insane. And if it is only Hollywood that has to deal with this, OK, that’s fine. Let them be insane. The problem is their insane rules are now being applied to the whole world.
~Lawrence Lessig, “Free Culture”

I’m not going to synthesize the story of Everybody Draw Mohamed Day since I can just link to GSC, but I thought I’d give my two pennies about it.

South Park once had a commercial that said something along the lines of “If we haven’t offended you, we’re sorry.” The entire show is one long list of offenses. It comes as no surprise that they would choose to deliberately depict a figure merely to start controversy. It’s what they do, and frankly, society needs someone to drag everyone off their high horses. Offensiveness is sometimes the best medicine.

Comedy Central chose to censor South Park for it. Such censorship, especially when a show is well known for being offensive and making light of nearly everything under the sun, is a blatant slap in the face to the idea of free speech.

I don’t necessarily like the idea of being offensive for offensiveness’ sake, but threatening cartoonists with death merely because they offended you is an outrage. No one threatens me with death when I yell “JESUS FUCKING CHRIST” upon dropping something. If someone is that offended, they are free to tell me so (and I do attempt to censor my own language for those people I like and respect who would rather I not take their god’s name in vain). But part of life is dealing with other people who may not see the world the way you do and who may not bow to your wishes.

The world does not revolve around Islam just as it does not revolve around Christianity or any other religion, creed, race, or species.

For another post on Everybody Draw Mohamed Day, check this one out at the Bookworm Room.

On to the RIAA.

I fucking hate the RIAA.

I no longer buy new merch from labels that are part of the RIAA. If I want their music, I find it used. Granted, all my CDs are used at the moment, but one day when I’m not in debt I actually do plan to start supporting artists I enjoy. Just not the ones affiliated with the RIAA.

Why?

Let me tell you a story.

I think it was Wednesday. I stepped out of my apartment for a walk. There was a note on the door.

The apartment-offered wireless internet had been shut down due to “a violation of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.” As best anyone can tell at the moment, the complex was subpoenaed by the RIAA and thus they were forced to take some action. Their action was to take the internet down for several days and threaten to remove wireless access to the person who was found guilty of the violation.

Here’s the kicker. The RIAA is trying desperately to hang on to an outdated model of distribution. Face it, shit will be put online for free, whether you like it or not. It’s not fun, but it’s part of dealing in the digital age. You can move on and up, or you can sue everyone who violates your rules until everyone fucking hates you and they boycott your shit. I still highly doubt that the filesharing of music is as big a financial deal as the RIAA makes it out to be.

Webcomics are an excellent example of the new age in media. The bulk of the product is available for free, online. Anyone can read it, anyone can download them to their computer and enjoy them. Free. The artists bank on some of their readership (aka the “100/1000 True Fans”) to support them by donating and/or buying hardcopies of the comic or merchandise. Will it replace the day job? Not likely. But it’s a model that works without attracting the scorn of the internet.

And if you want examples of musical artists doing something similar, check out NIN’s Ghosts I-IV or Radiohead’s In Rainbows.

It’s not necessary to go the completely free route. It is, however, completely necessary to realize that distribution models are changing and litigation is only going to anger people. It does not do well to make the internet angry at you. They will draw pictures of your deities to offend you and then boycott the purchase of your products. This gets truer and truer the more public a group you are.

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One Response to “Everybody Draw Mohamed Day and Fuck the RIAA”

  1. […] of The Tiny Ouroboros referenced my post on Everybody Draw Muhammad Day in her multipurpose Everybody Draw Muhammad Day and Fuck the RIAA post. Seems and odd combination, but it got me to thinking, I haven’t railed against the […]

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