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Thoughts On S.O.P.A. | Entreprelife

Thoughts On S.O.P.A.

By now, you’ve heard about SOPA (the Stop Online Piracy Act) or it’s counter part PIPA (Protect Intel­lec­tual Property Act). These bills attempt to give content creators the ability to stop copyright infringe­ment both inside and outside the US. If the law were to pass, it would give content creators the ability to shut down websites that somehow link to websites that containt copyright infringement.

The popular example is, if someone posted a comment on Entre­pre­Life that linked to a website illegally using copy­righted content (say a picture or a video) and the copyright holder didn’t like it, they could shut down my site over a single comment. No due process, no defense. Guilty until proven innocent.

This video explains what the law is and how it can really mess over websites. If you’re still confused about the bill, watch the video and then keep reading.

If you can’t can’t see the video in your reader, click here

Who Wants This?

As Seth Godin said in his great SOPA article,

the only people who are in favor of SOPA and PIPA are people who are paid to be in favor of it. And creators (authors like me and Clay Shirky and Scott Adams) aren’t. While the folks at the “Copyright Alliance” pretend to be looking out for the interests of inde­pen­dent film­makers and authors, the fact is that the only paying members of their lobbying group seem to be big corpo­ra­tions, corpo­ra­tions that aren’t worried about creators, they’re worried about profits. Given a choice between a great film and a prof­itable one, they’d pick the prof­itable one every time.

The people pushing SOPA aren’t authors, inde­pen­dent film makers, or musician; the people pushing SOPA are film distrib­u­tors, record labels, and publishing houses. The internet has become too big to legislate properly and instead of wasting their time with due process (like they did with Napster and YouTube), they’re pushing this guilty until proven innocent idea.

This effects everyone. The internet is a place to create, share, reshape, and redevelop the things we love. YouTube, Facebook, Flickr, and even Entre­pre­Life are places where creativity thrives and anyone can compete.

I’ve had the pleasure of talking with dozens of indi­vid­uals who have made signif­i­cant livings with a simple website, a few ideas, and a bit of hard work. All using tech­nology and freedom that SOPA would destroy.

The problem with SOPA is that it doesn’t under­stand that the world is changing. Hollywood, the MPAA, and other publishing indus­tries are being killed by the internet — not because of copyright, but because they now compete with every human being with an internet connection.

When you can go to YouTube, Newgrounds and others content sites to be enter­tained, their profits start shrinking and their bottom line is threat­ened. Instead of changing with the times, they’re looking for ways to end compe­ti­tion and keep the old ways.

But the old ways are gone forever. Content distri­b­u­tion is changing.

What You Can Do

If you live in America, call your repre­sen­ta­tive. Let them know you’re against SOPA/PIPA and that you will be paying attention to how they vote.

Second, look into the OPEN ACT at KeepTheWe­bOpen. I don’t know a lot about this bill, but it puts the focus on foreign site that infringe instead of American sites that link to them. It also protects sites like mine (suppos­edly). As I find out more about it, I’ll let you know.

Third, sign petitions. Most petitions are pretty useless, but Politi­cians still take notice of them when enough signa­tures start piling up. Make sure you’re signing a petition you agree with on a reputable site — otherwise you’ll just be giving your infor­ma­tion to strangers.

For more info on the history of SOPA and what it would do to the internet, check out this TED talk:

6 Responses to “Thoughts On S.O.P.A.”

  1. Loren Pinilis January 24, 2012 at 2:49 PM #

    I stopped tweeting for a day and congress halted SOPA. So you’re welcome, everyone!

    • Alex January 24, 2012 at 4:12 PM #

      You did it!

  2. ixnayonthetimmay January 25, 2012 at 10:34 PM #

    I’ve not liked SOPA/PIPA since I first heard about it rattling around the Inter­tubes a couple of months back, so call me an e-hipster if you must.

    I could go on for eons about what I think is wrong with our current copyright and trademark law, but I wont. Never­the­less, as a(n infre­quent, admit­tedly) Web designer and content creator, I am quite glad for the quick action and response on the part of the major tech companies bringing it to the national attention, but I worry that our collec­tive conscious­ness will soon forget about it and it will end up slipped in some appro­pri­a­tions bill and signed into law with little fanfare.

    • Alex January 26, 2012 at 3:38 PM #

      It will defi­nitely come up again. Unfortunately.

  3. Carrie February 20, 2012 at 2:33 AM #

    SOPA has been pulled and PIPA has been postponed. Time to get PIPA pulled, however.

  4. Kimberly February 23, 2012 at 12:59 AM #

    ACTA 2.0 is like a backdoor way to enact SOPA. If the govern­ment were to control the internet that would even­tu­ally allow complete control on what info/news they want to be shown, and the ones they want to hold on to.……which would turn the internet into complete BS, as is? the media nowadays. What’s worse is if we actually let this happen as a society.

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