I try to make it a goal to not get political with my work blogs, but I also make it a goal to write about things I’m passionate about and things that are important to, not only me and my colleagues, but others whowork in the same fields. So what could I possibly be preparing you for? SOPA and PIPA. Let me break each one down for you before I delve deeper into why these acts should not be passed.
First up, let’s talk about PIPA.
PIPA stands for the Protect Intellectual Property Act and its goal is to stop the distribution of illegal copies, “anti-digital rights” management and counterfeit goods. This actually sounds like a really good idea on the surface, but consider just how much of theInternet breaks these rules. You know all those Youtube videos you watch? What about all those fan made movies using an artist’s song that isn’t their own? And how often do you get on Wikipedia, for actual research or fun browsing? If PIPA passes, you can kiss these things goodbye. And chances are, if you’re anything like me, you will have some of your own original content wiped away because you didn’t put a copyright on it.
Now, how is this different from SOPA?
SOPA stands for the Stop Online Piracy Act. It’s very similar to PIPA and has been getting the most voice out of the two, so what makes it so special? If SOPA passed, the Department of Justice and copyright holders would be able to attain court orders against sites being accused of displaying pirated materials. This means sites like Wikipedia, Youtube, blogging platforms, search engines, etc. would be blocked or would be required to block the majority of their content.
Now, let me be clear, I absolutely support ending copyright infringement. If you rightfully own a copyrighted or patented idea, you should receive the proper protection. And this is what the DMCA is for. The Digital Millennium Copyright Act removes infringed items from the Internet. They deal solely with the “rule breakers” and have all content removed if it is breaking someone’s copyright. SOPA and PIPA will target the entire site and/or platform. So instead of punishing one person,they punish EVERYONE who visits the site – that means people across the globe, too. And we all know how things like this work – if you tell us we can’t have something, we’re going to want it more and we will find a way to get it. It’s instinct. If your mom said you couldn’t do something, it made you want to do it more. If a friend tells you to just give up, you’re going to try harder. Right?
SOPA will also make finding employment even harder than it is now. How, you ask? Considering most jobs online are start-up companies, moving forward will become too costly, and the process will move elsewhere, if at all. That means no new jobs for a would-be multi-million dollar company that could easily expand to employ hundreds, if not thousands, of people. Plus, all the innovative ideas that could really change the way we live would be hindered. Is this idea present in a different country? Did this person have any ties with an idea similar to an already well-known company? The process newbusinesses have to go through will end up being more difficult than actually setting the business up. Sites people turn to for work, like Craigslist or other community forums and sites, have a large probability of getting “blacklisted”. And with us living in a digital age, this is detrimental to our futures. And what about those of us who are already employed and work intensively with the Internet? For me, I’m constantly plugged in for work. I manage all social media sites for Rock Candy Media and a few of our clients. If SOPA passed, I would no longer be able to tweet interesting links unless they linked back to something I created, all original content. But, if what I created contained something like a picture of a celebrity, my site would still be subject for shutdown.
It won’t even stop what it’s trying to stop. Remember that album you downloaded and put on your iPod five years ago? Now burn it and give it to a friend. You just pirated a CD. Oh yeah, you can email an attachment of the album, also. You just digitally pirated another CD. Think you won’t be able to get to a site? Just type in their IP address in lieu of their site address and you’ve been given access to it. If SOPA can’t even stop what it’s threatening to stop, doesn’t it seem just a bit more unnecessary and harmful than when it started?
There are MANY big brand names that are in support of SOPA passing, Go Daddy having been one of them, until they withdrew support once so many of their clients stopped hosting with them. Who opposes this act? I, for one, as well as Google, Facebook, numerous politicians, and hopefully YOU! There are so many things you can do to keep one of the most harmful new acts from being passed. Here’s a great video explaining things further. Watch up, read up, and sign up on all the petitions you can find! Contact your state representative! Do everything you can to protect our freedom of speech.
PROTECT IP / SOPA Breaks The Internet (it won’t let me embed it, so click the link!)
What are your thoughts on all of this?
Biddle, Sam. “All the Companies Supporting SOPA, the Awful Internet Censorship Lawâ€”and How to Contact Them.” Gizmodo, the Gadget Guide. N.p., 21 Dec. 2011. Web. 18 Jan. 2012. <http://gizmodo.com/5870241>.
Harris, Leslie. “SOPA: ‘Internet Censorship’ and Anti-Piracy Bills in Congress – ABC News.” ABCNews.com – Breaking News, Latest News & Top Video News – ABC News. N.p., 8 Dec. 2011. Web. 18 Jan. 2012. <http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/sopa-internet-censorship-anti-piracy-bills-congress/story?id=15108326#.TxbvBm9STw0>.
Marrs, Megan. “SOPA and PIPA: Why They’re Bad for Business | WordStream.” Internet Marketing Software – Search Marketing Tools for SEO & PPC | WordStream. N.p., 17 Jan. 2012. Web. 18 Jan. 2012. <http://www.wordstream.com/blog/ws/2012/01/17/why-sopa-is-bad-for-business>.
Masnick, Mike. “The Definitive Post On Why SOPA And Protect IP Are Bad, Bad Ideas | Techdirt.” Techdirt. N.p., n.d. Web. 18 Jan. 2012. <http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20111122/04254316872/definitive-post-why-sopa-protect-ip-are-bad-bad-ideas.shtml>.
Masnick, Mike . “An Updated Analysis: Why SOPA & PIPA Are A Bad Idea, Dangerous & Unnecessary | Techdirt.” Techdirt. N.p., 18 Jan. 2012. Web. 18 Jan. 2012. <http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20120117/23002717445/updated-analysis-why-sopa-pipa-are-bad-idea-dangerous-unnecessary.shtml>.
Potter, Ned. “â€˜Wikipedia Blackout,â€™ SOPA and PIPA Explained.” ABC News. N.p., 17 Jan. 2012. Web. 18 Jan. 2012. <abcnews.go.com/blogs/technology/2012/01/wikipedia-blackout-sopa-and-pipa-explained/>.
Ulanoff, Lance. “SOPA Will Take Us Back to the Dark Ages.” Social Media News and Web Tips â€“ Mashable â€“ The Social Media Guide. N.p., 18 Jan. 2012. Web. 18 Jan. 2012. <http://mashable.com/2012/01/18/sopa-dark-ages/>.