As former head of the Tribeca Film Institute, Brian Newman really understands the indie film world. And, as Brian explains in his very thoughtful Jan. 13th 2012 blogpost, indie filmmaking currently stands at a crossroads: If Congress enacts SOPA, our path to distributing indie films online will almost certainly become tougher.
What do indie filmmakers need to know about SOPA (and its companion in the Senate, PIPA)?
If the big studios get their way and enact SOPA/PIPA, it will be a watershed moment announcing a new era of censorship and legacy corporate control over media.
Indie filmmaking - which is entering a new era of web-enabled content creation and distribution (think about the online video from the Arab Spring and the Occupy movements and expand that to include documentary and fiction filmmaking from indie filmmakers from around the world) - will suffer.
Here's why: Even though SOPA is just one law (allegedly targeted at "offshore rogue sites") - the corporate control over independent media that it would institutionalize is (per Brian Newman) a part of a much larger effort to deny indie filmmakers a new era of innovation - in favor of protecting the old revenue models - like the sale of physical copies of Hollywood movies. The big studios are spending heavily right now to influence our legislators - to back SOPA - a law designed to retain a business model that big media is unwilling or unable to change. Now is the time for indie filmmakers to push back. Tell your Congressperson you are opposed to SOPA/PIPA.
According to Brian Newman: "SOPA/PIPA will stifle innovation. More importantly, it will stifle our most ambitious entrepreneurs, the people who might actually turn around our economy, all for the sake of making sure that you spend what little money you have on the products of a dying industry."