Federico Fellini, 1920-1993, Italian film director
The theft of intellectual property is a serious issue. Stopping piracy is nontrivial. SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act) and PIPA (Protect Intellectual Property Act) are not the answer. Aside from the names of these two Acts, they have nothing to do to actually stop online piracy and intellectual property theft.
Last year there was a proposed Act in the Senate that addressed the same issue in the same manner, COCIA (Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act). Like SOPA and PIPA, COCIA proposed blocking allegedly infringing sites by changing the DNS (Domain Name System) directory. All without due process. This is the same type of censorship used by China, Egypt, and other countries. How can the United States be a world leader, championing freedom and democracy, and pass Acts such as SOPA and PIPA?
The spin doctors have done a good job marketing SOPA and PIPA, but don’t be fooled. If SOPA and/or PIPA pass you will be directly effected. For example; let’s say you take a video of your kid blowing out the candles on their birthday cake. In the background there is a song playing by The Beatles. You then post this video on YouTube, Facebook, or some other sharing site for your family and friends to view. Since there is a Beatles song playing in the background, this is considered an unauthorized performance. According to SOPA, if this video is streamed more than 10 times in a 180-day period, you are guilty of piracy and your video will be blocked. The hosting site could also be blocked. Impossible? It happens more than you would think now on YouTube, using the DMCA (The Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998) Take Down process.
You only need to look at the companies sponsoring and the companies opposing to see who SOPA and PIPA will benefit and who it will hurt. Ultimately, it will hurt you and all the citizens of the United States.
On EFF’s (Electronic Frontier Foundation) website is an open letter to the House of Representatives written by 110 law professors from 31 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico opposing SOPA. It’s very interesting reading.
Today popular websites such as Reddit, Wikipedia, OpenCongress, MoveOn, Craigslist, and others are going dark to protest SOPA and PIPA. Please join them in speaking out against censorship and for the support of due process. We need to end piracy, but not by ending our civil rights.
“Censorship ends in logical completeness when nobody is allowed to read any books except the books that nobody reads.”
George Bernard Shaw, 1856-1950, author, playwright, Nobel Prize in Literature 1925