It’s starting to feel like colonial Boston around the Internet these days. Has anyone developed a Paul Revere avatar or something that races around screens yelling “SOPA is coming! PIPA is coming!”?
The Internet is coming together for what will likely be just enough time to move a politician or two from the realm of the clueless to that of “maybe I should listen”. Of course in the social media world of “click activism” this will be short lived and probably just as misunderstood as most things as people will join anything that looks like they are “sticking it to the man” only to move on an order their frappachino or whatever.
I’m sorry. I am being cynical. My apologies. OK back to Google. On their blog Google is asking for people to sign a petition as they outline the evils of SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act) and PIPA (Protect IP Act). Here are the main points brought to light by Google.
PIPA & SOPA will censor the web. These bills would grant new powers to law enforcement to filter the Internet and block access to tools to get around those filters. We know from experience that these powers are on the wish list of oppressive regimes throughout the world. SOPA and PIPA also eliminate due process. They provide incentives for American companies to shut down, block access to and stop servicing U.S. and foreign websites that copyright and trademark owners allege are illegal without any due process or ability of a wrongfully targeted website to seek restitution.
PIPA & SOPA will risk our industry’s track record of innovation and job creation. These bills would make it easier to sue law-abiding U.S. companies. Law-abiding payment processors and Internet advertising services can be subject to these private rights of action. SOPA and PIPA would also create harmful (and uncertain) technology mandates on U.S. Internet companies, as federal judges second-guess technological measures used by these companies to stop bad actors, and potentially impose inconsistent injunctions on them.
PIPA & SOPA will not stop piracy. These bills wouldn’t get rid of pirate sites. Pirate sites would just change their addresses in order to continue their criminal activities. There are better ways to address piracy than to ask U.S. companies to censor the Internet. The foreign rogue sites are in it for the money, and we believe the best way to shut them down is to cut off their sources of funding. As a result, Google supports alternative approaches like the OPEN Act.
In the end we need to figure out a way to stop online piracy without opening the doors for abuse. That’s how it is with all laws isn’t it? Has anyone stopped abusing anything these days? In the end I would just like a free Internet and if someone steals something and gets caught then they get punished. No more. No less. As for stopping piracy completely? Good luck.