‘The Day the LOLcats Died’ As Protesters Take On the Web
Having Reddit withdrawals?
In a lighthearted send-up of the SOPA and PIPA protests, self-described "internet scientist" Forest Gibson, aka LaughPong, has produced a new version of Don McLean's "American Pie" called "The Day the LOLcats Died". You can watch it here, because, thankfully, YouTube has not shut down today.
"A long, long time ago on the world's largest network of interconnected computers," singer Chris Parker begins, "those LOLcats used to make me laugh."
The song is clearly on the side of websites which wouldn't exist without the ability to link to other sites which may link to other sites, which may be stealing stuff. "And I knew I could make a joke, and not be sued by nasty folk,” he sings. “Every login was refused, the day the LOLcats died." The music video includes an appearance by Ben Huh, the man behind Cheezburger, which owns sites like "I Can Has Cheezburger", "Know Your Meme" and my personal favorite, "FAIL blog". These sites survive in large part by posting funny photos or videos, sometimes without permission.
Websites voluntarily going offline today provide a powerful demonstration for people who spend much of the day surfing the internet. I spend more hours online than reading print publications or watching on air content (other than CNBC, of course). Since I pay about the same for my monthly internet connection as I do for my satellite television, I don't feel like I'm getting online content for free, though, obviously, many content creators aren't compensated. Something has to give, as more people get most of their information and entertainment from the internet, which gets much of its information and entertainment from other sources. Critics, however, say the current bills before Congress will slow innovation and cut off the flow of information, and you can’t put the internet genie back in the bottle.
Rupert Murdoch, an old media icon , has been sounding off on the subject in new media since last weekend. "So Obama has thrown in his lot with Silicon Valley paymasters who threaten all software creators with piracy, plain thievery," read his first tweet on the subject Saturday. "Nonsense argument about danger to Internet. How about Google , others blocking porn, hate speech, etc? Internet hurt?" Murdoch accuses Google of being the worst internet pirate of all, he chides politicians for "selling out" and changing their positions on SOPA, and, in perhaps a first, he finds himself on the same side as the AFL-CIO in supporting the current bills. "Whole entertainment (industry) employs 2.2 million (average) salary 65 g. Good jobs and expanding foreign earnings. Made in America, too!"
As for the Youtube send-up, turns out it's not quite as lighthearted as it seems. Beneath the sarcasm and funny pictures is a battle for survival. "Why, why are laws a thing you can buy, they got paid off should be laid off, re-election denied," goes the song's chorus. "Our web means more than lawyers, lobbies and lies, so speak up before the internet dies."
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