Has the Internet Spoiled Us?

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You’ve probably noticed that sites such as YouTube, Facebook and Google have recently been giving you notifications on how their privacy settings have changed in areas such as Iceland, the EU and UK. What may have alluded you is that all of these changes are a result of legislation passed in the European Parliament titled Article 13.

Article 13 essentially acts as the copyright legislation upon the digital market place in the European Economic Zone. For more detail, I recommend reading the article I wrote about it here. To summarise, the bill basically works in the favour of  big industries- mainly music- to protect their material from being copyrighted.

Sounds pretty reasonable. But the bill will aggravate the average consumer. I’ll give you an example. Say you’re a student or someone who likes to work while listening to something peaceful, such as classical music. Well under this new law, you wouldn’t be able to listen to Bach or Mozart- because all their music has been copyrighted by studios like Sony.

If your a musician you can’t make covers of songs and then upload them, because that’ll violate their copyright infringement. You can’t even have an Adidas logo present in your content without getting a copyright strike.

So what’s happening is that the bill is going to enforce internet services to ensure that no copyrighted material is uploaded to their site. Sounds reasonable, right? Well there’s at least a hundred years of content uploaded to YouTube daily and no man or machine is capable of going through all that data to ensure nothing violates copyright.

To avoid this problem, they’re just going to prevent people in the EU and other regions to just not upload content or view content. You won’t be able to view sites like Facebook, Twitter, Youtube and various other sites. But if you are, their capabilities will become far more limited than they once were.

The legislation is in the final stages of development as we speak and I believe it’s going to come into fruition tomorrow. I’m not certain about what exactly the internet is going to look like. There might be no change, there might be great change. I’m not entirely sure, the whole mess is so goddamn confusing.

What I am sure about is an interesting dilemma that faces us. For the content creators, this legislation will be detrimental to their livelihoods. For the consumer, not so much. I mean when you genuinely think about it, all this legislation would really do is forbid us from consuming free content.

Like you wouldn’t be upset if you had to pay for a Netflix account or a newspaper subscription, but when it comes to YouTube or Facebook we’re pissed off if we have to watch a few adds or sit through a request to donate to the creators Patreon account?

It’s hard out there for a content creator online to make money. I mean, it’s not like TV. There’s no big studios, no real trustworthy business partners- the hustle is just far more gruelling. Like the most popular creators on platforms such as YouTube and Twitch have a fanbase comprised entirely of children who will abandon them the minute they hit puberty. You may get videos that reach over a million views, but only get 2,000 followers on Twitter as a result- meaning you’re less famous than you’d like.

The biggest disparity in my personal opinion is between Left Wing and Right Wing news creators. Two examples I’ll use are YouTube channels such as Secular Talk and Rebel Media, the prior being left and latter being right.

The prior has about a few 100,000 subscribers, get’s about 10-100K view per video. Has like two or three people that work for them and is practically living paycheck to paycheck. The latter has just about 300,000 subscribers and gets similar views. But for some confounded reason they’re able to have a staff of over a dozen people across the world. They can pay for expensive camera equipment, pay for flights and stays in hotels all around the world- how? How are they able to do this?

I mean its rhetorical. I know how, The latter are bad actors, dishonest participants in the political sphere. They’re paid by hedge-funders such as Robert Mercer to produce Right Wing propaganda to scare the shit out of ill informed, gullible viewers. A right-wing pundit without a donor is basically homeless. Just look at Steve Bannon for Christ sake.

The only thing more pitiful is those right wing YouTubers who are so obviously not being funded by someone. They’re just being this stupid and corrosive for free. In other words, they’re useful idiots.

What defines the internet age is the liberation of information. Books were no longer just reserved in bookstores and libraries, history would never be feared forgotten, secrets would always be revealed- many people thought it would beckon a new stage of enlightenment.

For some, it has. For others, it hasn’t. A lot has changed too rapidly and we’re struggling to adapt with it. We’re not meant for long term communication between peoples across an invisible platform. We’re not designed to have arguments with fake people on a screen. We’re not meant to do any of this.

I genuinely wonder if the internet has spoiled us. If it has made us entitled to free shit or if it has just corroded the human soul. I don’t fear what Article 13 will do to us. I fear that we deserve it.

We are in the wild west of the internet age. By the time I’m ninety I’ll probably be the last generation who remembers a time where porn was free and everywhere, where people could abuse one another without worry of consequence, where people struggled to swim in new waters, struggled to stay afloat, where suffering was so universally apparent and yet nobody cared. Because we chose convenience before ethics. Every damn time.

We’re all just gunslingers and hookers out here in the West. It was only a matter of time before someone insisted we become civilised.

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