“Let our rigorous testing and reviews be your guidelines to A/V equipment – not marketing slogans”
Facebook Youtube Twitter instagram pinterest

Internet Victory as SOPA, PIPA Lose Steam

by January 19, 2012
Internet Victory as SOPA, PIPA Lose Steam

Internet Victory as SOPA, PIPA Lose Steam

The SOPA and PIPA bills are withering away as Internet activism seems to have scored a victory. Several well-established corners of the Internet went dark Wednesday in protest of the anti-piracy bills facing the House of Representatives and Senate respectively. The bills would give content owners heavy-handed powers to shut down or block sites accused of copyright infringement without the benefit of legal discourse or due process. Even worse; the ability to block, shutdown or sue websites accused of piracy involves entertainment industry lawyers tinkering with domain registries, the very backbone of the Internet itself. In a nutshell: Politicians want to give lawyers the ability to tinker with the inner workings of the Internet! What could possibly go wrong?

The White House has spoken out against the contentious bills and their potential harm to free speech, Internet-based commerce and home-grown American business and innovation. Even John Boehner, Republican Speaker of the House, has acknowledged a lack of consensus for the bill.

But even greater anti-piracy legislation is still a major priority not just for the entertainment industry but also for publishers and pharmaceutical companies, sectors of the economy that claim billions in losses due to piracy every year.

Yesterday, Wikipedia went dark for a 24-hour period when it converted its English site to a black background page that warned readers about the bills facing US Congress and House. Craigslist also joined the darkened protest while Google placed a simple message on its home page: Tell Congress: Please don’t censor the web!

The websites urged users to contact local politicians and make them aware of that voters don't support the bills. Apparently the Internet activism, coupled with an election year, has proven a potent motivator to politicians.

Good News

Momentum has already shifted away from SOPA and PIPA. Support for the bill that was once on track for approval in Congress has cooled in the face of a possible veto from the Executive Branch. 

Republican Representative (Georgia) Tom Price says he doesn’t think the bill is going to pass. "There is real confusion about it, number one, but number two, there are real concerns about whether or not it would shutdown the ability of entrepreneurs, new businesses and the like to utilize the Internet for their purposes," Price said.

The House isn't the only branch of government that is flipping on the issue. Several Senators that initially sponsored the legislation including; Roy Blunt (Republican, Missouri), Chuck Grassle (Republican, Iowa) Orrin Hatch (Republican, Utah), John Boozman (Republican, Arkansas) and Marco Rubio (Republican, Florida) said they will now withdraw support for the bill. Since Senators hate to be called "flip-floppers" (as if changing your mind isn't a sign of growth, learning and intelligence) they're already blaming Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid for rushing a flawed version of SOPA.

Former Democrat Senator Chris Dodd (co-signatory of the Dodd-Frank Act aimed at reeling in financial institutions after the 2008 housing crisis), now lobbyist for the Motion Picture Association of America has dug in his support for SOPA and PIPA. Dodd called the online blackouts a "gimmick" while demanding supporters of the bill: "Stop to the hyperbole and PR stunts and engage in meaningful efforts to combat piracy."

The Trouble with Anti-Piracy Legislation

SOPA and PIPA are fundamentally flawed and their potential for disastrous unintended consequences outweighs any constructive contribution to the problems of piracy.

Technically, giving out widespread power to block domains represents potential security and commercial nightmares to all businesses that use the Internet. But what makes SOPA and PIPA even more flawed is that they're iron-hand solutions of enforcement for something that cannot be enforced.

They simply won’t work! The policies won’t make piracy go away just as prior legal measures haven’t worked.

Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998, Pro-IP Act of 2007, Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement of 2011

The above legislation is already in place to give content-owners increasing power of enforcement. It would only be a matter of time before lobbyists for industries reliant on copyright would seek even more legal power from law makers. It's another unwinnable drug-war that pours ever escalating public funds into unworkable enforcement measures that only whittle away your rights.

We believe in the rights of content creators to protect their property and we do not condone piracy. But it's simply a truism of modern business that any industry reliant on copyright should be looking for solutions that involve incentive, not enforcement. In business - the carrot is mightier than the stick!


About the author:
author portrait

Wayde is a tech-writer and content marketing consultant in Canada s tech hub Waterloo, Ontario and Editorialist for Audioholics.com. He's a big hockey fan as you'd expect from a Canadian. Wayde is also US Army veteran, but his favorite title is just "Dad".

View full profile