The Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) – swatting skeeters with a bazooka

So there’s a bill floating around in Congress. It’s called the Stop Online Piracy Act. The idea is to protect the intellectual property rights of artists, studios and large media companies.

But beneath the covers lie some pretty interesting unintended consequences – or maybe they’re not unintended. Maybe there’s a killjoy who really wants to destroy YouTube and any other Internet-based social medium that thrives on sharing of photos, videos, audio clips and so forth.

Wikipedia describes some of the provisions (Because I’m too lazy to drill down deeper, let’s be honest): “The bill would make hosting unauthorized streaming of copyrighted content a crime, with a maximum penalty of five years in prison for 10 pieces of music or movies within six months.

“Proponents of the bill say it protects the intellectual property market and corresponding industry, jobs and revenue, and is necessary to bolster enforcement of copyright laws especially against foreign websites. Opponents say that it infringes on First Amendment rights, is Internet censorship, will cripple the Internet, and will threaten whistle-blowing and other free speech.”

Once some observers realized what might happen, they started making noise. GoDaddy publicly supported the bill, which triggered a wicked backlash of customers dumping GoDaddy as their web host. GoDaddy quickly backpedaled, but enough former customers are angry enough that the PR damage has been done. And they’re trotting out Danica Patrick to save the day.

And the big social media companies are contemplating thoughts of uncorking a “nuclear option” – going dark simultaneously to demonstrate their displeasure with the bill. Of course, they risk annoying users left in the cyber-darkness unless they rally the troops to join in solidarity.

But now that a lot of voices are rising in opposition, the chances that this bill will pass look pretty slime.

When people pay attention to the crap that’s being done in palaces in the Middle East or corner offices on Wall Street or the hallowed halls of Capitol Hill, when we actually pay attention and decide we’ve seen enough of this crap and make some noise, real change can happen. Not always, and not always right away, but enough to give the knuckleheads in charge pause.

Maybe this time the voting public will remember come November.

Nah, who am I kidding?


7 thoughts on “The Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) – swatting skeeters with a bazooka

  1. Well…I must say, you sound just about as cynical as I am when it comes to the long term memory of most of the voting-aged public…it’s just “what have you done for me lately, like in the past 15 minutes”…but I do think we can influence a lot of public policy by continuing to speak out for what we believe and educating people.

  2. Thanks for your comment. I would dearly love to be surprised and see a majority of voters demonstrate recall further back than last week’s phony whatever. But it’s depressing to see so many people who are so willfully stupid.
    President Santorum, anyone?

  3. From what I saw while online yesterday, most people expressed their views and did it mostly in a good, educated manner. Of course, there are exceptions to everything. Overall, I am happy to see people stand up for something. Maybe a good debate can actually be had from time to time. Maybe there is hope still?

    • Maybe a good, civil debate could happen, given the current atmosphere it doesn’t seem likely. Yes, copyright protection needs to be respected. But requiring Googles and Youtubes (or the smaller guys) to do the copyright lawyers’ work for them? Nope, not going for it.

  4. Pingback: SOPA is DOA, RIP « AkronDave

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