By now you must be aware of the public outrage over SOPA and PIPA, two Congressional bills designed to stop online piracy of copyrighted content such as music, photos, documents and videos. If you aren’t familiar with the controversial bills, here’s a good place to start. There are several problems with the proposed legislation, but the net effect if passed would be that companies can be forced offline if their content is found to be in violation of some pretty ambiguous rules concerning ownership and copyrighting. The most dangerous aspect is the way such legislation would be enforced, essentially shutting down the accused prior to a fair hearing on the merits. That puts all of the power in the hands of the accuser, regardless of fairness, accuracy of the claim or reasons for filing a complaint.
Some Nasty Things That Could Happen if SOPA or PIPA Are Passed
- Social media sharing of photos, videos, music and written content could be shut down by shutting down the social networks that host the shared content
- Blog syndication sites could be shut down by a single violation from one of their source feeds
- Company websites and blogs could be shut down for sharing copyrighted content, even if proper attribution is given
- Any content that includes copyrighted content (such as webinar slides or white papers containing third party graphics, even if properly attributed) could potentially lead to a shutdown of the company’s online presence.
- It’s not clear what recourse you would have if you are shut down by Court order. Again, it appears that all the power would be in the hands of the accuser, which may or may not be justified.
I support stopping SOPA and PIPA because the legislation is too broad and ill-conceived. It will punish the tools that allow sharing of content, such as social media, without targeting the actual copyright violators. It will impact nearly every business with a Web presence without delivering much in the way of preventing piracy. It will cripple inbound marketing and put many businesses, such as ours, out of business if passed. There’s already legislation in place, the Digital Millenium Copyright Act (DMCA), for complaining about and dealing with copyright violators. Why do we need this potentially crippling set of bills? If you agree and want to do something about it, Google has a great tool available. Just click on the blacked out banner on the Google home page and register your protest today.
By way of CYA, this blog post represents the personal opinion of John McTigue and does not represent the opinion of Kuno Creative or any of its employees. If you would like to comment, please do below, but please don’t include any copyrighted material!
Photo credit: Andrew-Hyde – by Creative Commons License – Really!