Working on the Dark Side
Part Eight

The End of the Internet
Another tale from Working On Dark Side Of The Internet

(Some time in the near future)

I finally found a way to make money off the Internet. I did it by writing a book about how the Net died.

Not that I made any money while it existed, you see. No one did.

Oh, like everyone else, I loved the Internet for all the freedom it gave me, and the wealth of information and idea exchange, where everyone profited from that free flow of thought and information. But, you know how Man is. Never underestimate his ability to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory!

Why did it end? Simple: It was greed.

First it started with the Spammers. There got to be so much Spam, that even Congressmen were snowed under with the daily deluge. No one could get their legitimate mail because of the thousands of fake letters these inventive Spammers were sending out with their Web bots. Congress finally made a law strong enough that any of them could be shot on sight. Some hacker then posted on the Web a public list of the lot of them, and soon they were all dead.

The public, long laboring under all that Spam, liked what they did so much, that they killed off all the hackers too. This had a profound effect on people taking computer science and engineering classes, did you know that?

That was the first nail in the coffin of the Net. We should have all paid attention to it. But no one did. We were all too busy trying to make a buck off of the Net.

The next coffin nail came when the Music and Movie companies finally paid Congress enough money to have the copyright laws changed. It was easy once Disney got them to extend copyright privileges another hundred years. The new law that Congress passed was very comprehensive!

Now it was a Federal offense to even read or see anything that was copyrighted. If you did, there would be an unauthorized copy in your brain that you could access just by remembering. Oh, you could legitimately purchase a copy of anything copyrighted in the stores, but you could never open that copy and view it or listen to it. Tough law!

That’s why all the libraries in the country were permanently closed. Right after that the schools and colleges were all shut down, and their teachers and administrators put away for using copyrighted materials in their classrooms. Students, however, were forgiven their offense in this, but all their books and notes were confiscated and burned.

The next nail came with the legal view of computer hardware. That legal POV stated that the desktop, palmtop, or laptop computer you were using could also hold, however briefly, yet another copy of any copyrighted material you might put into it, for transfer to a CD, or perhaps downloaded off the Web. Congress just attached this to their Anti-Terrorism Bill for Secure Systems Standards. Remember, these devices were considered guilty until proven innocent, just as their owners were. It seems the very existence of these machines was now suspect, because someone, somewhere, might use them for pirating copyrighted material!

Therefore all these computing devices became illegal to even own. No more Computers!

The music companies, having now gotten their way with Congress, finally had a law written that was so powerful, even they were locked up! They were all sent to prison for having a copy of their own music, which they had bought (or rather stolen) from the artists. Just deserts!

Then the movie producers and the owners of movie theaters were locked up for the same violation of this powerful new copyright law! They were sent away for distributing more than one copy of their movies.

Then the music artists and singers were all locked away for the same reason. Worse, for under the new law, many were sent up the river for playing their own songs too many times, with or without an audience.

All this was good for the Prison Industry, which could not build prisons fast enough to hold everyone!

What was left of the Internet, you say? Why, those cheap little devices that you could use to surf the Net with, but which could hold no text or image in themselves for more than a few seconds. Of course, they had no internal hard drives or memory. Still, people surfed the Net. Those who did were suspect anyway, but there are always brave ones who will try.

All this nonsense was good for business. People could not do their work on computers any more, since they were illegal to own. They also had more time to work now, with the Net being inaccessible for surfing during business hours. Businesses now do just fine with just pen and paper, just like before. More people were working too, taking all them notes and filing all them papers, so this was all good, you see. Why IBM actually grew profitable, now that they sold only typewriters!

Of course, we all know what happened to Xerox!

The last nail in the coffin of the Internet was hammered in right after this. Ever vigilant Microsoft finally succeeded in buying out every last person’s website, and dot-com business on the Internet! They owned it all outright. Boy, them guys at Redmond thought they owned the world now!

And you know as soon as they did this, they began charging every user of the Internet with ever increasing, monthly revolving rates, which were as hard as your average cell phone bill to figure out. Sure, there fewer people using the Net now, but, hey, Big MS was out to make money! They had to make money this way. No one was buying their “Nostalgia Boxed Set Edition of Windows and Office” since there were no more computers.

But all of this was not too bad, really, because right after Microsoft owned the World Wide Web, all the governments of the world finally began to tax the Net with what they called Hit-Taxes. They were wise to do it all retroactively, so much so, that the mighty and wealthy Microsoft was soon completely bankrupt, and now it no longer exists!

Neither does the Internet. Life is much simpler now, and more sedate. It has to be. There are Laws, my friend, there are Laws!

Thus, my book, which is not copyrighted at all. Nothing is anymore.

People just leave their coins in my hat as they pass by and pick up a hand-written copy off the TV tray I sit in front of every day here on my street.

That is how I finally made money off the Internet.

Roger Born

Leave a Reply