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January 22, 2012

Bill Maher: I Support SOPA, Because I'm Pretty Sure Absent Piracy Religulous Would Have Been A Huge Hit

Uh-huh. That's my take, too. Video at the link. Here's some of his dumb quotes.

arguing that “there is a moral dimension” to online piracy [Maher] dismissed concerns that the bill would harm internet freedom as a “red herring.” He jokingly called online piracy “caucasian looting” and insisted that even if pirates are ‘just because you’re sitting at your computer in your pajama bottoms doesn’t mean you’re not stealing.”

Another classic Bill Maher joke, deploying a reference that was never all that funny and was already moldering by 2005. Also, contains liberal white-guilt pandering, as he shows his radical cred by casually knocking white people, who obviously suck.

Exhibit A: Bill Maher.

Maher admitted that he has not read the proposed legislation, which could penalize websites that merely link to infringing material, but he explained that his more hawkish views in the piracy debate came from his reaction to online users downloading illegal copies of Maher’s comedy-documentary Religulous. Maher claimed so many people downloading the film ate into its profits.

I agree that I don't want the Anonymous position -- "Movies want to be free!" -- to win out here. Libertarians are supposed to respect the heart of libertarianism, after all-- property rights.

But like most industry-sponsored bills, this goes too far to protect its client.

But I understand why Bill Maher would be blind to that. After all, all of his millions of huge fans have turned out to video pirates who chose to download the movie illegally instead of tossing him that unaffordable $4.99 for a pay-per-view showing.

Bill Maher has millions of fans who think he's hilarious. It just turns out they're all dicks.

Oh Wait: A commenter at Mediaite opines:

pirates are right wingers who are trying to suppress liberal movies that threaten the status quo

Right wingers were the ones downloading Religulous, a movie they did not want to see?

Why? And how does that cut into his profits? That money was never going to him.

One thing about piracy is that while it is "theft" of profits in many cases, in most cases, there's no profit being stolen, because that was a sale that would never, ever have been made. Because piracy is free, downloaders grab a lot of marginal material they would never pay for and in fact probably don't even bother watching after it's downloaded. Free, after all, doesn't mean "with no time requirement."

Plus, when people don't pay for something, they don't bother finishing it (even if they start it in the first place) if they don't like it. Someone who pays feels more of the need to salvage something from his bad purchase, and will finish the book or movie more frequently.

The pirate won't. It didn't cost him anything, so there's also no cost to him turning off Religulous when he realizes it sucks, ten minutes in.

I still think piracy is wrong, but in a lot of cases, we're really talking, essentially, about poor teenagers sneakin' into the movies through the back door. Sure, that's not right. But the odds of them ever paying for your good are low. You're not actually losing as many sales as you might think.

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posted by Ace at 02:13 PM

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