Sunday, January 22, 2012

Your Stance: SOPA and PIPA

I believe the question on most people’s mind is, what is SOPA and PIPA and what does it mean to the public? Especially for those who have adapted the usage of the World Wide Web into their daily life and/or business affairs? 

First, I would like to start with the meaning of the acronyms SOPA and PIPA. SOPA: The Stop Online Piracy Act and its senate companion PIPA: Protect IP Act. There has been major buzz associated with SOPA and PIPA that have created pandemonium within the social media networks and formed dividing lines in regards its support. In Jared Newman’s article featured in PC World, he states, “Enter SOPA, in the U.S. House of Representative, and PIPA, in the U.S. Senate. Both bills are aimed at the foreign website (click link to see specific sites) that infringe copyrighted material. The bills are commonly associated with media piracy, but may also apply to counterfeit consumer goods and medication. 

You probably do not have to think too hard to identify someone (outside of foreign site offenders) that is or has been in violation of copyright infringement known as piracy. So, if you are thinking, not me! Unfortunately, you too made the mistake when you burned a copy of your favorite compact disc to play in your car.  I know that sounds extreme, but it is true. When pondering the consequences associated with pirating, it actually seems like an insignificant punishment in comparison.  SOPA and PIPA provide two methods in which they seek to enforce legislation against violators that in my opinion seems rather extreme.

I have listed below both methods these bills seek to use in fighting copyright infringement on foreign websites pulled from the article “SOPA and PIPA: Just the Facts” (Newman, PC World): 

1: The U.S. Department of Justice could seek court orders requiring internet service providers to block the domain names of the infringing sites
·         For example, Comcast would prevent its customers from accessing
sites in violation, although the underlying IP address would still be re
2: It would allow rights holders to seek court orders requiring payment providers, advertisers, and search engines to stop doing business with an infringing site.
·         In other words, rights holders would be able to request that funding be cut off from an infringing site and that search links to that site be removed

The methods of policing and upholding the legislation involved with both bills would in my opinion limit the freedom that World Wide Web users have and put the power of censorship into the hands of the government and your internet service provider... at the subscribers expense!

So my next question is, who is in support? Well according to Bill Chappell’s article  titled “Q&A: Congress, SOPA And A Fight Over The Web”, he states, “Essentially large media groups support the proposed bills— corporations such as Time Warner and News Corp., and industry groups that include the Motion Picture Association of America, the Recording Industry Association of America, and the U.S. Chamber of Congress. They say they’re losing billions of dollars each year to counterfeiting and file-sharing enterprises based overseas. (

That means popular sites such as Face book, Google, YouTube, Craigslist and Wikipedia just to name a few; who are non-supporters of these bills (see links below for additional non-supporters), risk changes if passed…or becoming non-existent! How can you police millions of users on various sites like Face book, when their business is based upon file sharing via sources from all around the world? I believe it would be a monster to try to do and spoil the fun involved in using sites such as Face book. The fall-out from this could prove to be devastating to both supporters and non-supporters alike.

Bottom line…in my opinion, its about money and greed! Let’s not forget, with the disguise of protecting intellectual property and creative license. 

Based upon what you have read, do you think that SOPA, PIPA, and the methods involved with enforcement are taking it too far? In addition, do you feel you would support both bills if you were one of the corporate giants losing money, or right holders being violated? Lastly, would you continue to use Face book and other popular sites like it, if changes were made that limited and/or prohibited file sharing of post?

 Other Related Links:
Sopa, Pipa: What you need to know
The White House Blog
Obama Administration Responds to we the people Petitions on SOPA and Online Piracy

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