Looking for a definition on Wikipedia in order to get a brief overview about the topic for the next blog post, I stumbled over this image:
Thus – a change of plans occurred and the research towards the happenings in the US Congress and why Wikipedia involves themselves began.
In the following post, the terms SOPA and PIPA will be explained and how politics aim to control internet. After having read it you will know more about the current hot discussion about copyright in the web and the effects on us – as daily consumers.
… is that a new girl group? No, certainly not. Some background information: SOPA stands short for Stop Online Piracy Act, a bill introduced in October 2011 in the United States House of Representatives. If it was enforced, U.S. department of Justice and copyright holders would have the right to sue online trafficking such as a website supporting and facilitating copyright infringement. In lighter terms, every kind of file sharing would be a violation of the new law.
Additionally the PIPA bill, a short term for Preventing Real Online Threats to Economic Creativity and Theft of Intellectual Property Act of 2011, aims for the same targets as SOPA:
- stopping piracy through blocking and suing national and oversea websites that seem to provide infringing or counterfeit contents
Loss: 200 billion $
Looking back into the year 2011 we might remember the shut down of kino.to, about half a year ago. A couple of days later, everything came back to normal by just adding one single letter to the URL. The current condition reveals that online piracy resulted into a worldwide loss of about 200 billion US $ for the software, music, video, games and e-book industry, states Lucius Lobo. Thus it seems reasonable and necessary to prevent online piracy, since internet piracy doesn’t only affect the companies’ revenues but also available jobs.
Catch them if you can
Therefore the bills SOPA and PIPA were introduced. According to Meghan Potts who presents an objective view, the main goal is the prevention from (financial) supporting foreign websites violating U.S. copyright law. Besides they aim to immune those who intervene the theft of US intellectual property. Therefore we understand that the focus lies on externals, meaning providers operating from abroad.
Choke the pirates
To understand how the targets are aimed to be realized, let’s have a look at Julianne Pepitone’s arguments. Eventhough online piracy is already illegal, U.S. companies or copyright holders cannot easily take actions against foreign websites offering their content for free. Hence, the bill could enable the fighters to require U.S. providers, search engines and advertising network to cut off their support to these “rogue” sites. Subsequently, Google for example would have to “unflagg” the accused websites and payment processors like PayPal weren’t allowed to transmit funds to them, thus to cut them off the oxygen.
Up to now, all of that seems to be the right thing to do, doesn’t it?
So, why did Wikipedia and other websites went black in protest against the introduced piracy law?
Opponents argue about the wording of the bills. Hence sites like YouTube would be threatened to shut down when users upload infringed data. The police strategy would have to be tightened! Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg stated that the broad definitions would hinder innovation, growth and investment – the drivers of the internet.
John Wales (co-founder of Wikipedia) states in a CNN interview that due to the badly formulation “a DNS (domain name system) blocking regime” would be created comparable to China’s regulation actions (check out Anne’s post to learn more about censorship in China). He claims the Wikipedia community to act as strong defender of copyrights and ensures the detailed research of securing non-piracy. His main fear concerns the right of free speech will be inhibitted by an enforcement of these bills. All in all he does not disagree with fighting piracy, but thinks that the aimed way is not the right one.
So far so good
While researching and writing about this topic, I discovered many interesting and different blogs which are all worth to be discussed here. There is a lot more to come but for now I want to keep it like that.
Currently, we have a brief overview about what is going on, and since the virtual protest by nominal websites such as Wikipedia, Google occurred only one day ago, there will a lot more discussion and material available on the web during the coming days.
To me, the elimination of everyone from the web who acts like a “pirate” or is linked to someone seems very irrational. The illegal practices will still be done, as we can see with kinox.to. Because there are many intelligent people out there, always finding a way around the hurdles. Thus, the legislative might rather consider a system or bill, in order to regard the billions of file-sharers as potential consumers and in what way they can be incented to act as one. And not to rip anything from the web. Answer the question for yourself, how often are you actually acting like a pirate? And why, because it is so easy!
For the next post, I will follow the ongoing discussion and look for different opinions to see how the enforcement of such a bill could affect us in our daily lives and behavior. Besides you will read more about the Plan and the Follow up, applying the Toyota A3 model, which would now blast the frame.
Until then, let me know what you are interested in knowing more about and how you think the enforcement of these bills in whatever way will affect us. Just imagine our blogs were blocked because of linking someone who supplies infringed data?