The Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) has filed a legal brief in support of a federal lawsuit that would make sites that embed videos just as liable for copyright violations as the third party sites that host them, a legal precedent that I'm pretty confident would end up stripping Slog (and much of the rest of the Internet) of the bulk of the videos that we post for your enjoyment and elucidation every day.

Fucking evil capitalist bastards.

I'm not pro-piracy or anything, but Hollywood's campaign to crush Internet freedom in the service of disincentivizing even the remotest possibility of copyright infringement has the potential to dramatically undermine the First Amendment, if not destroy small, independent websites entirely. During my many years pissing people off over at HA, I always knew that I was just one lawsuit away from losing my house and my retirement account. And not even losing a lawsuit. Just the legal cost of fighting a libel or copyright suit would have been enough to bankrupt me. So knowing that the wrong video embed could potentially cost me hundreds of thousands of dollars would probably lead me to be awfully wary about embedding any videos at all, since I could never be absolutely sure of a video's provenance.

And I'm guessing Tim would make a similar decision here at Slog. How could he not? Under the current regime the copyright holder issues a takedown notice to the offending host site, and poof: the video no longer plays on Slog. Under the MPAA's proposed ruling, the copyright holder could then sue The Stranger (and hundreds of other embedding sites) for damages.

The irony of course is that there is no better tool for marketing Hollywood's wares than a free-flowing Internet. But just like the music industry before it, the MPAA seems intent on criminalizing its customers rather than adjusting its business model to the new media reality.