A professionally produced anti-entertainment lobby video has already garnered 10 million views for illustrating why movie pirates shouldn’t be treated like terrorists. Political Prostitution, a new website backed by anonymous donors, argues that the commando-style raids of piracy websites is driven by congressional corruption.
While the depiction is clearly over-the-top, and avoids discussing both sides of a difficult issue, it is notable for a YouTube campaign to use professionally paid actors and directing. The video opens up with a fake award ceremony for “Senator Chris Rodd”, an obvious reference to former senator and current Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) chairman, Chris Dodd, whose lobbying for SOPA and aggressive copyright laws sparked speculation of political corruption. Though the revolving door between industry lobbying and retired officials is quite common, it is nonetheless a perennial worry for congressional watchdogs.
The video then pans over to military raids of citizens in their homes, alluding to all-out use of force against uber-pirate, Kim Dotcom’s mansion (footage below). Internet activists, such as Wikipedia co-founder Jimmy Wales, have pushed for petitions protecting content distributors from what they see as excessive legal and military force, with little success.
Perhaps the most interesting lesson in all of this is that the popularity of the video is in large part due to hitting the front page of the Pirate Bay, a prominent website for downloading illegal copies of music and movies. It goes to show how popular websites can have the force of major media companies when they turn their front pages into billboards for political causes.