The MPAA and Japanese Whalers

As an environmental activist and a patriot of our Digital Revolution, I have a unique ability to compare what is happening within the environmental movement to what is happening in the Digital Revolution. What I have noticed recently is how similar the issues of DRM and Illegal Whaling are.

After watching Friday’s episode of Animal Planet’s “Whale Wars”, which documents an organization I am proud to be a part of and donor to: Sea Shepherded Conservation Society (SSCS), I realized how similar commercial whaling is to the efforts of the media industries of the world. You have a dieing business and instead of calling it quits and allowing for a new system which is better for everyone… you defiantly keep going simply to maintain pride and put some extra money into the pockets who want to ride the industry out to the last day.

Whaling was once seen as very okay, eventually whaling got out of hand and someone said “wait, this isn’t right” and so was established the International Whaling Commission. This commission put a limit on where whales could be murdered and set quotas and such.

Japan continued it’s whaling operation illegally in the Southern Pacific ocean which was all and well, and making them lots of money. Finally SSCS came in with one goal in mind: Destroy the profits for the whalers and they will stop returning. Japan kept going to governments attempting to get the SSCS shut down and have their ships taken away. Japan even took it upon themselves to ram the SSCS ships and to capture crew members.

Now let’s relate this back to our struggles: The media industry has grown more and more controlling over the content it releases to consumers until they finally started actually hacking the systems that their content was played on (DRM). When DRM was developed and put into full gear the FCC (and international bodies) should have created an organization like the IWC to limit or ban the use of DRM. Instead we see that the media industry has been able to corrupt our leaders on this topic, more than Japan (and other pro-whaling nations) have been on whaling. So abusive practises continue to get worse and worse. However, consumers still find ways around the abusive locks and restrictions put in place by the media industries. Thus, the media industry takes it upon themselves to corrupt police officers to carry out highly questionable raids; even carry out raids with it’s own forces. Additionally, they’ve started using dubious court manoeuvres to attempt to scare and loot thousands of innocent people.

The difference in why our movement looks so bad in the public eye and the environmentalists generally have favourable reception is because environmental organizations can show pictures of slaughtered whales and get everyone in an outrage. it’s hard to take a picture of someone getting cut off from the Internet and generate a meaningful emotional reaction.

There is hope in this story: Last year SSCS put pressure on the whalers until they finally left the Antarctic well below their quota and issued a statement stating they would not be returning the next year. While who knows if Japan really will return to the Antarctic or not. If they do, they are in to lose lots of money. Eventually they will no longer be able to afford to return.

We can put that same kind of pressure using activist tactics on these abusive media organizations so it becomes no longer profitable to fight us. We cannot just let up with them backing down from lawsuits and the like… we must push the line back. We must keep fighting and destroying their profit margin until they can either stop using DRMs and other practises or go bankrupt. We know it can be done, if whaling can be ended in Japan in the antarctic (an activity which is culturally ingrained, and carried out by one of the most prideful nations on the globe), we can end abusive practises from some greedy media organizations.

This is not a call for boycotts, boycotts only reduce (fractionally at best) profits. We must prevent these corporations from getting their product out and stalling their operations, to actually cut into their profits and create losses.


  1. Travis McCrea

    Note: The intro is not intended to be an advertisement for SSCS, though they do a lot of great work. It was intended to be a full disclosure (and I did direct to the channel that I watched it on, so other people can watch the show and see what I am talking about in regards to the similarities in whaling and the media industry.

  2. Michael

    What is this a call for, concrete suggestions?

    1. Travis McCrea

      Anything that prevents companies from making a profit off DRM (and other anti-consumer practices). having people block access to enter a Best Buy would mean that Best Buy would have no income for as long as people are out there. How much does even 30 minutes cost a best buy? If Best Buy keeps losing money and having their business impacted they are going to stop carrying the products that are causing the losses.

      Using another environmental group, Green Peace, they go after the biggest buyer in abusive products and make them stop… and after they put enough pressure on them and shut them down, it is easy to go down the list and make it hard on everyone else. For instance they didn’t go directly for the people cutting down old growth forests (as their primary campaign), they went after Kimberly Clark, the largest buyer of old growth trees.

      It is up to you guys to come up with a campaign of who to target.

      1. ForFreedom

        I have to agree that Greenpeace is more like the MPAA, they’re bullies trying to force their way on others. Sometimes the description of eco-terrorists isn’t far off. You may be tempted to tolerate their forceful tactics if you agree with their beliefs but supporting it reveals a self-righteous attitude and authoritarian mindset.

        Why? Even when I believe something I would not use such tactics to push ahead with it. Because I know I’m not infallible, I can be wrong … such an approach assumes I’m already right and everybody else is wrong – this is what I feel when I read your article also. I’m not saying that you’re wrong … but if you were, how would you find out with this kind of attitude? That’s why I choose the path of persuading people of my views rather than forcing my way … because there is always a chance that it’s me who’ll be persuaded to change my mind and realize I was wrong. And if I’m wrong I want to know!

        That’s why I consider this kind of tactics not only counter-productive but outright dangerous.

  3. fafkulec

    Looks to me that Green Peace is more like MPAA.
    “having people block access to enter a Best Buy” – if it’s call for violence then I’m propably off this blog. If you don’t like any company you’re free to boycott it, but let others shop where they want!

    1. Travis McCrea

      >.> Where did you see any use of violence on here? The problem with boycotting is that it simply does not work, and it allows the company to contenue to profit off of its anti-consumer practice. In the example above I say “block access to best buy” people still have access to technology stores in the area, they just wouldn’t have access to Best Buy. You are not punishing consumers, you are only punishing a company that profits off abusive practices.

      Boycotts only result in a reduction of profit, if you want the practice to end, you must create a loss. Again, look at Japanese whaling, their actions have been condemned, deemed illegal, and various other things yet they contenued to whale in the antarctic. For the media industries and for the Japanese it is about PRIDE at this point, and the only thing that is going to trump pride is the financial inability to contenue what they are doing. If it was purely about making money, the media industry would adopt pirate buisness models since their own research has proven that file sharers are the biggest spenders on media.

      1. fafkulec

        You’re preventing me from trading with whoever I want. I don’t care if there are other stores around. You are not in position to make choice for me and other people. Using force to influence other people decisions is violence.
        If you don’t like some company you’re free to blog about it, stand near entry, make your speech and hand some fliers. I don’t care if it works or not, that’s your problem. If blocking does not work would you start advocating bombing?

        1. Travis McCrea

          Someone asked for an example, I gave one. Perhaps it wasn’t the best one, but it has the same impact.

          When it comes to bombings, it would really have to become much more extreme, and the bombings could only destroy property, not harm any humans (and have a 0 chance of harming a human).

          Don’t forget: it wasn’t Martian Luther King that passed the majority of the civil liberty reforms in the United States, it was the riots that occurred after his death.

  4. Per "wertigon" Ekström

    The problem is, hurt their bottom line how?

    I agree that MPAA is a cancer on our society best purged with fire. But the problem here is that there are three players; “consumers”, MPAA, and artists. MPAA is blatantly abusing the artists talents and like a vampire suck them completely dry of any talent, before finally realising the talent left is crap and throws them on the garbage heap. This is what happens to 95%+ of all artists, On top of this, they’re now going after the consumers to squeeze every last penny out of them.

    The biggest problem here is that many people justify their piracy by saying “I hate those guys, but if I pirate them instead of buying they lose money, right?” Wrong. They don’t lose money. Every song and movie you download is free advertising. Given you enjoy the movie enough to tell your friends about it, the download has in fact benefitted the distributors. If all (illegal) filesharing stopped tomorrow, the record industry would lose profits, tonnes of it.

    The way I see it, the best way *you* can hit them in the nuts is to say “I don’t care about your crap anymore”. This means choosing free (as in freedom) software and free content wherever possible. This is akin to becoming a vegetarian because you dislike the meat industry, and yes, it is a boycott. I don’t really believe in boycotts either, but, atleast I’m doing *something*. To be honest, that’s the only way I can think of to hurt them, short of breaking “The Agreement”.

  5. Andrej Čremožnik

    “Japan even took it upon themselves to ram the SSCS ships and to capture crew members.”

    Not true. You can’t expect an environmental TV program not being biased in such matters. Please familiarize yourself with the other side of the story:
    (do take these articles with a little bit of grain, but still, they are not wrong)

    It’s not in my interest to defend whalers but I surely wouldn’t defend Sea Shepherd. It’s a terrorist group.

  6. jeffer

    Pride and arrogance is driving the copyright aristocracy, both high and low. They think that just because immaterial things can be spread everywhere they can interfere in everything, reducing the freedom for all.

    When powerful people and entities are filled with pride and arrogance, soft and gentle words alone will never influence them. As you say very well, more activist approaches are needed. So let us be inspired by other effective activist projects.

    Other good inspirations is the activities of the American colonists leading up to the American Revolution, with inceasingly effective boycotts and blockades, at the same time hurting the British government prestige and organizing the rebels/patriots.

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