I think of it, and I laugh.
I consider the implications, and I laugh harder.
It’s a deep laugh, the laugh of realizing that you locked your lockpicking set in your car along with your keys. The laugh of the fact that I spent $70 on a digital sundial. And the laugh of remembering that asshole manager at the multiplex in 1988 who was using a goddamned bullhorn to direct people into lines to see Batman and how I not only let him do it, but happily sat for an hour inside a theater waiting for the movie to start. To see Batman!
In other words, it’s the ludicrousness piled on top of the stupid, the hilarity baked into the self-obvious bad idea, the on-its-face clarity of the totally untenable plan accompanied by the energetic, totally-cognizant shout of “onward to victory!”
To think we let things drag down until it got to the point that any entity, any entity at all considered itself the owner and protector of a set of 16 hexadecimal numbers, and not just the beloved guardian of this precious collection of letters and digits but one which would then attempt to cow and bend all the world to its will to remove all trace of this combination from the internet.
That they would do this isn’t a big surprise; groups do stupid things. But the fact that there’s a law on the book they could point to that would allow this to even be potentially actionable is what stacks on another layer of Moron Flapjack into the breakfast plate of this event.
In case this event hasn’t made itself to your corner of the world, the string in my entry’s title does something. I’m not even entirely sure how, but if you do all sorts of insane shit and plug it in the right place you can copy a movie. Maybe. The resultant movie is then going to be gigabytes huge and probably star Hugh Grant but damn, you now can have a copy. If you use this number. Somehow. Again, I don’t even know entirely how and I really, seriously don’t care.
Most people wouldn’t care, actually. Copying movies happens; it certainly happens to my movies, and it has been going on since… wait for it… forever! Movies used to be duplicated back in the “play it in a tent” days of over 100 years ago, and there were companies that would pirate/dupe these reels and then send them to countries or districts without copies of the movie, and make money at it. So yeah, that’s been afoot for a bit of time.
But what made people care was that there were actual lawyer letters sent out, threat-o-matic missives saying that this number was totally and utterly illegal and you should stop printing that number because there’s a law on the books that says that this thing is a device and method for circumventing copy protection and that’s illegal and hey stop it and oh shit you painted it on a wall.
The closest I could come up with to this happening in recent memory is Major League Baseball trying to copyright or make into trade secrets the score of a game. Two numbers! Ours! All ours! They were dumbfucks then and are dumbfucks now. But even that was very specifically directed at other businesses who were then selling access to those numbers, so maybe, you could convince yourself it wasn’t in fact Major-League Stupid.
We have entered the hopefully-short era of the Microtheft, the smallest possible unit of larceny, the atomic level of sin. We’ve boiled down the act of being immoral to one string of numbers being in your possession, one collection of digits representing you being bad and worthy of punishment. And the punishment is fucking crazy. Do I hear years? Years for printing this string?
Bring that shit on. The resulting fireworks of all these are delicious, like a ice cream sandwich on a ferris wheel in a breezy August afternoon. This is something that people get, they understand. Maybe this is the wedge where a critical mass hits and laws are changed. Stupid, stupid laws that get in the way of good laws that help the world.
Here’s the letter that’s been sent out to places, in case you think all those stories were fake.
Bring it on! I brought cake, fuckers!
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