A large chunk of this audience (and most of the U.S. audience) will be watching the Super Bowl in a few hours.
These days, there are two types of competition: the one that occurs on the field, and the other that occurs during the game breaks. That is, the commercials.
There’s one in particular that will attract this audience’s attention. The Pepsi commercial. Pepsi will kick off its promotion with Apple to distribute a hundred million free downloads from iTunes with an ad using teenagers who were caught and have settled with the RIAA.
The message is hardly subtle. The RIAA didn’t script the commercial, but they might as well have. Behind a musical background of Green Day singing “I fought the law and the law won,” you see these teenagers with the words “Incriminated,” “Accused,” “Charged,” and “Busted” superimposed on the screen, with one teenager saying, “Hi, I’m one of the kids who was prosecuted for downloading music free over the Internet . . . .”
Just in case some earthworm or teenager doesn’t get the picture, another graphics later says, “Starting today, Pepsi and iTunes will give away 100 MILLION free songs,” followed shortly thereafter with the word, “LEGALLY.”
Predictably, the RIAA is very pleased by this commercial. They ought to be. It’s not every day you get what is essentially a free Super Bowl commercial seen by hundreds of millions of people.
Just as predictably, the P2Pers are outraged by this, and they are playing semantics with the language used in the commercial.
It takes pretty big cojones for the people who turned “stealing” into “sharing” to complain about language, but the words are used legitimately. Go to the dictionary, and you’ll see that “prosecuted” can be used in civil matters. Though it is a slang term, “busted” can be used as a synonym for getting caught; it’s not just a synonym for “arrested.”
What really must outrage the P2Pers, though, is that the Pepsi ad knocks down their house of cards by saying the obvious, that downloading most music is generally ILLEGAL. They say that loud and clear to a vast audience which includes many of the parents of those avid P2Pers, and put faces to the names in the paper so parents can say, “That could be my kid” and kids can say, “That could be me.”
In this competition, it’s Reality vs. Delusion. If I have a gun in my hand and threatening to use it on you, do you tell me, “That gun isn’t there?” That’s what P2Pers do.
No, you either try to take the gun away from me or get your own.
Using the term “illegal” in front of a P2Per is like waving a cross in front of a vampire. They will do anything to avoid it. They’ll shuck and jive and BS and set up straw horses, anything not to acknowledge the simple reality that the vast majority of this activity is illegal.
They’ll say things like, “Not all music sharing is illegal.” That’s like saying, “Not all marijuana use is illegal.” It may be technically true, but outside of the Netherlands, the exceptions prove the rule. You wouldn’t call pot smoking legal in the US because of a few exceptions to the general rule, but that’s just what P2Pers do all the time.
There is one big difference between the P2Pers and pot smokers, though.
Pot smokers have at least a reason for having less-than-optimal touch with reality, but when have you ever had a pot smoker, no matter how stoned to the bone he or she is, ever deny that pot smoking was illegal?
Most will certainly say that pot smoking shouldn’t be illegal, but no matter how wasted they get, they never confuse what ought to be with what is.
This complete denial of reality is what has always most baffled me about P2Pers as a group. It prevents them from getting up to the level of potheads and saying, “We ought to change the law.” No one seems to be the slightest bit interested in creating a P2Ping equivalent of NORML (National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, a U.S. lobbying group).
The Pepsi ad simply demonstrates what nonsense the “see no evil” approach is. You will go nowhere in the real world by denying reality. The only chance you have is to accept the reality and then try to change it.
The P2Pers need to get as smart as the potheads.