For those who haven’t heard about Black March, it’s a continuation of the worldwide copyright abuse protests that have been going on since January. We who rely on the Internet and love it realize that the proposed laws and treaties intended to abuse copyright law to alter the fundamental principles of the way the Internet operates didn’t come out of nowhere. They weren’t thought up by some Congressman who realized one day that he hadn’t fulfilled his Evil Quota yet. No, they have a very specific source: the entertainment industry, which has been lobbying non-stop for ever-increasing copyright “protection” for the last 3 decades and more.
With Black March, we intend to fight back. The entertainment industry is made up of corporations, and when people note that corporations are abusing their power, one of the standard responses to any complaint is “if you don’t like it, then don’t buy their products.” So we’re deciding not to.
March is the final month in the first financial quarter, and we’re celebrating it with a worldwide boycott of all entertainment industry products. For one month, we will not buy any music, movies, books, magazines or video games from any company that is part of the problem. This is a move designed to leave a gaping hole in the industry’s finances for the first quarter. The Internet has become an essential part of our society, and interference with its operation will not be tolerated.
And although the Black March site doesn’t mention it, I think that what you do do is as important as what you don’t do. Not everyone creating and distributing entertainment is part of the problem. On the other side of the spectrum, we’ve got independent music and film creators who create and distribute their work without industry control. We’ve got game developers like Stardock, who produce and sell high-quality games and refuse to violate their users’ rights with DRM. We’ve got authors like Howard Tayler, a former computer programmer who’s been supporting himself and his family for several years now on the revenues from merchandise from his consistently-funny webcomic Schlock Mercenary.
There are people, and even a few companies, that are working with the Internet instead of against it to make their income, and I think that it’s important to support them. They’re the future we want to help create as we reject the outdated past that the dinosaurs of the industry are trying to keep us stuck in.