NOTE: I know, that Fernanda already wrote on that topic. Unfortunately I checked our Blog too late and since I had already written my post about the two bills, I thought I will still publish it, since I put some effort in writing it. Sorry for troubling you again with this topic.
The other day I energetically sat down with my laptop and was highly motivated to finally write that blogpost I´m postponing for too long already. And then there they were – the eight letters of doom: F-A-C-E-B-O-O-K.
Of course it immediately started to complain, that I´m not checking it enough – you might know that.
So I did my duty and checked the most recent news, when I stumbled over Marc Zuckerbergs latest post: “…Facebook opposes SOPA and PIPA, and we will continue to oppose any laws that will hurt the internet. …”
Whaaaaaat is he talking about? I never have heard of either of these abbreviations before, so I did what I learned in this course: I googled it.
Unraveling the Alphabet Jumble
First of all, what do these abbreviations stand for?
SOPA – Stop Online Piracy Act | PIPA – Protect IP Act
Summarizing Larry Magid´s article in the forbes online magazine, SOPA and PIPA, where introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives in October 2011. The purpose of both bills is to make it harder for sites — especially those located outside the United States, to sell or distribute pirated copyrighted material such as movies and music. Additionally they would also legitimate the prosecution of online piracy and could lead to the shut down of certain websites.
State of Affairs
As Jonathan Weisman reports in the New York Times, the US-Senate was supposed to hold a vote on the SOPA/PIPA issue on the 24th of January. Mr. Weisman further indicates, that the US Senator Harry Reid (Democratic Party, Senate Majority Leader) twittered, that the vote will be delayed, but the discussion has definitely not ended yet. (btw, funny that Mr. Reid uses the medium that he tries to restrict to communicate the latest developments.) So far I haven´t heard of any further debate on the issue.
The Goals to attain and why all the Fuss?
The target of the two Bills is to prevent online piracy and improve the criminal prosecution, especially of “sharing-platforms overseas” explains Jasmin Melvin on msnbc.com.
Important to mention is, that in particular Hollywood studios and music recording companies back the bills. Ted Barret explains on CNN, that because of illegal downloads and the loose regulations they are bleeding millions of dollars every year – so they lobbied Congress for stricter protections.
Harry Reid declared via Twitter: “Counterfeiting & piracy cost 1000s of #jobs yearly. Americans rightfully expect to be fairly compensated 4 their work. I’m optimistic that we can reach compromise on PROTECT IP in coming week.”(Jan 20th)
WEB-wide protest against SOPA and PIPA
Very impressive was the web-wide protest against the two acts. On Friday January 18th Wikipedia shut its service down for 24 hours. Visitors only saw a black screen and were encouraged to research the bills and call their elected officials to oppose the legislation. Google launched an anti-PIPA and anti-SOPA petition, which received 7 million signatures in one day. As already mentioned Mark Zuckerberg used Facebook to protest:
“The internet is the most powerful tool we have for creating a more open and connected world. We can’t let poorly thought out laws get in the way of the internet’s development. Facebook opposes SOPA and PIPA, and we will continue to oppose any laws that will hurt the internet.
The world today needs political leaders who are pro-internet. We have been working with many of these folks for months on better alternatives to these current proposals. I encourage you to learn more about these issues and tell your congressmen that you want them to be pro-internet.”
read more about facebook views on SOPA
Larry Magid outlines that even though most of SOPA and PIPA’s strongest opponents applaud the intentions, they deplore what it might actually accomplish. The most technology companies are concerned the laws would undermine Internet freedoms, be difficult to enforce and encourage frivolous lawsuits, since the bills would also enable to shut down certain pages, warns Jasmin Melvin.
btw, some of you might have heard it – the file sharing platform „megaupload“ had been already shut down.
Take a sneak peak on what might be commin´ next
Indeed SOPA and PIPA are on hold for now, but the next four letters to remember are already waiting in the wings: ACTA – Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement.
theintelhub.com described this bill as the Legislation that makes SOPA and PIPA look reasonable. Editor Maddison Rupert immediately informed that the US already signed the ACTA, at a ceremony last year along with several other nations, including the EU, as the German Newspaper “die Zeit” states.
ACTA was set of by the US and Japan to prevent counterfeiting of copyrighted goods and is feared to have an even bigger impact on the internet freedom as SOPA and PIPA.
What the actual effects will be, we will see after they had been set in action, if they even achieve that, since the protests against ACTA reach an international extent.