you're reading...
Internet, Politics

Aren’t we all pirates?


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?

The countermeasures

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?

About Fernanda

Hi, currently I am in the 2nd semester of the study program International Business Management at the HWR Berlin. Amongst others we are taught the course Business Applications where we founded the blogging group "News woth Juice". The aim is to combine and finally present the very general topic "news" with business appliaction matters. Thus the repertory of posts is very broad. Since my interests lie especially in social-political and organizational areas, I focus the research on those topics. However "field trips" to other discussions occur as well while maintaining the overall subject news. Especilly interesting the analysis of the role news play in both daily and professional life.


6 thoughts on “Aren’t we all pirates?

  1. Hey Fernanda,
    cool post! It’s great that you posted about an actual topic like this. Just a few days ago Megavideo shut down and many of my friends were really angry about this. Just yesterday one of my friends posted a video about SOPA and why it is a bad idea; actually it’s a TED-talk which was really good! You can check it out here: http://www.ted.com/talks/defend_our_freedom_to_share_or_why_sopa_is_a_bad_idea.html?awesm=on.ted.com_ACxO
    I’m looking forward to read your next post about the plan and follow-up!

    Posted by Lilian | January 23, 2012, 10:30 am
  2. Hey Fernanda. I was just as interested in that topic as you and I think you did a great job!
    I found out, that now the ACTA will hit us. I just researched it briefly, since i didn´t want to write such a large post. Maybe you find something on that issue? i´m really interested how they wanna implement that and why they think, that with that bill, there would be less protest.
    All in all you wrote a very up-to-date post and i enjoyed reading it.
    and i totally agree with your opinion, cutting something from the internet will achieve exactly nothing, because new platforms will always mushroom!

    oh and lily, I loved your video!!

    Posted by anne | January 29, 2012, 3:06 pm
  3. Hey Anne and Lili,
    thank you for the comments. Currently I am working on the next post and thinking about including the ACTA because this might affect as Europeans even harder and as I understood it is supposed to be even tougher than SOPA and PIPA.
    To Lili, the link to the TED talk was great. It’s a helpful foundation for the next post. Which will hopefully be online by tomorrow…

    Posted by Fernanda | January 29, 2012, 9:07 pm
  4. Hi Fernanda!
    Law and policies tend to be dry but you totally achieved to make the topic appealing. It was a especially smart to raise interest with wikipedia as we are all dependent on it. I appreciate that you start and end by telling us what you will do, that way, the reader had some guidance and didn’t have to feel threatened by the possibility of endlessly reading about policies.
    I also liked how you made the topic personal, you really evoked some more consciousness of the problem in me!

    Posted by Larissa | February 10, 2012, 12:51 pm
  5. Hi Fernanda!
    I know that the fight against piracy has been going on for a long time but I honestly don’t see the point of it. Companies are still making a lot of money (mostly speaking about the movie and music industry now) and those who aren’t are getting a lot of publicity and if neither of this is true, they need to change their business model.

    Piratebay is a Swedish site and I remember who paniced everybody was as the creators were taken to court and sent to jail. For a while downloading slowed down in Sweden but as you can read in this article http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20090417/0129274535.shtml, to give sites like this that much publicity only increases demand in the long run.

    With your explanations I can see that you put a lot of thought into this post and how you were going to write it. I’m excited about your next post and what the future will look like for all pirates out there!

    Posted by Caroline | February 12, 2012, 7:34 pm


  1. Pingback: Pirates Volume 2 « News With Juice - January 30, 2012

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: