The late Steve Jobs’ negotiations with the recording industry are now the stuff of legend. He famously told clueless music executives who refused to offer their product digitally that they had their “heads up their asses” and needed to start selling their content in the least restrictive way to save their industry.

It took the music industry nearly a decade to even offer digital downloads, and another five years to finally understand that customers will gladly pay for their music if it is sold without copy restrictions and made available through high quality subscription streaming services. Along the way, however, the record companies sued children for millions of dollars in damages, vilified their fans and alienated the very people who helped to build and support their industry.

With broadband speeds now allowing for the rapid distribution of movies, The Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) is taking a similar approach by threatening to turn the Internet into a corporate police state. MPAA Chairman and Former Senator Chris Dodd, whom I have tremendous respect for, is actively working to convince Congress that the only way to solve the piracy problem is to impose a layer of private regulation on the Internet that will employ the same censorship practices the Chinese government uses on its citizens.  The MPAA’s proposals will change the very fabric of how the Internet operates and threatens free speech by placing a tremendous amount of power into the hands of private corporations.

Two bills, one called the “Stop Online Piracy Act” (SOPA) and the other the “Protect IP Act” (PIPA), give copyright holders the ability to block foreign and domestic websites from public view by forcing Internet service providers to “de-list” sites with the Internet’s Domain Name System (DNS). The bills also give corporations the ability to go after publishers who link to the alleged infringers in any fashion, and force payment processing and advertising networks to immediately cut ties with alleged violators under threat of federal charges.

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Lon Seidman

Lon Seidman

Lon Seidman is the host and producer of “Lon.TV,” a consumer technology video show that is on a number of platforms including YouTube and Amazon. He creates in-depth, consumer-friendly product reviews and commentary. His YouTube channel has over 300,000 subscribers and more than 100 million views.

In addition to being a full-time content creator, Lon is an adjunct faculty member at the University of Hartford (his alma mater) where he teaches a course in entrepreneurial content creation.

Prior to becoming a full-time creator, Lon was a partner at The Safety Zone, his family’s business that manufactures gloves and safety equipment. The company has locations around the globe and employs over 200 people worldwide. The Safety Zone was acquired by the Genuine Parts Corporation in 2016.

Lon is also active in public service, serving as the Chairman of the Essex Board of Education, a member of the Region 4 Board of Education, and as the Secretary / Treasurer of the Connecticut Association of Boards of Education. He was endorsed by both Democrats and Republicans for his re-election in 2021.

The views, opinions, positions, or strategies expressed by the author are theirs alone, and do not necessarily reflect the views, opinions, or positions of