Many of you are noticing that today Google has a blacked out logo, Wikipedia and other sites are down, and many of your favorite sites feature info about anti-piracy bills SOPA and PIPA.
Here is what SOPA and PIPA mean to me: The internet functions as an open source of communication. There are some who misuse it, like piracy sites. In an effort to protect their copyrights, many hollywood companies would like the government to step in to prevent distribution. In theory, this is not a bad idea. The problem with SOPA and PIPA is that they are overreaching and ineffective – for instance…
- since the US government cannot control sites in other countries (and many piracy sites are not based in the US), the government will penalize US companies for even one link to a site against which a complaint has been lodged
- they force US social and search engine sites to police and censor their member’s content or else they will be taken down
- they take a “strike first, investigate later” approach
- they create different internets, the one in the US controlled by our government and the one accessible to people almost anywhere else in the world
- they are ineffective at stopping piracy sites – since they attack domain names, they are easy to get around by simply typing the numeral IP address for any site (in effect, PIPA and SOPA stop the average user from reaching well-intentioned sites that have been shut down for one complaint, while more advanced users can find pirated content easily)
For those of us who rely on blogging, Youtube and social media to share information, these are scary bills. Please consider the potential damage to the function of the internet, accessibility to free and simple marketing for those of us in other industries (not hollywood), and freedom of speech, not to mention the additional money and time that would be spent by our government and courts to enforce these new rules.
This is a great video that describes the problems with SOPA and PIPA.