Like many content-providers, I am disturbed by the huge amount of intellectual property theft over the Internet. Sure, it occurred pre-Internet but the now robust amount of easily accessible information has made this a profound issue. Impacted most are movie producers, musical artists, authors, bloggers and many more.
Now, wouldn’t it be best to just find a way to work within this paradigm? After all, many enterprising musicians have realized they can actually utilize the piracy by certain fans to make even more money on the back-end.
Perhaps. But, it should always be the choice of the content creator. I’ve personally had my information copied and republished without permission (at best) and without proper credit (at worst). I truly believe some people don’t know and understand that this is wrong. Others do, and do it any way. Mine is not a lone example. It’s very widespread.
So, it would seem that I — and many other creators, purveyors and compilers of content — would be overjoyed by the recently-proposed House of Representative’s Software Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and its Senatorial cousin, the Protect IP Act (PIPA).
But, I’m happy and proud to say we’re not. Owners of huge websites as well as one-person businesses; those on the political left and the political right; those who usually believe in big government and those who want government mainly out of their lives are all — in their own way — saying, “Nope. We don’t trust you to control what is perhaps the foundational principle of liberty…Freedom of Speech.”
We don’t trust the FCC and its bureaucracy to choose winners and losers based on whose opinions they (or their elected official bosses) might not feel is, er…beneficial.
We don’t trust the politicians to resist pressure from their paid sponsors (I mean, donors) to tilt the playing field in one business’s favor over another.
No, while we would love protection from the pirates, we have more to fear from those who make the laws. Both intended as well as unintended consequences could eventually all but wipe out any freedom we have to make our thoughts and opinions known.
I appreciate and respect the owners of many sites such as Wikipedia and Google who participated in the blackout as well as the many individuals who called their elected representatives to complain.
Thank you for voting for Freedom, even though — in the short term — it still leaves us with the frustration of those who would steal from us.
Solutions? While a free-market solution is always (in my opinion) preferable, protecting its citizenry from theft is a legitimate function of government. So, I’m personally not opposed to a government solution, IF it can do it without causing more harm than good. Unfortunately, government has not proven to be especially proficient in this regard. Their solutions typically cause even bigger problems and tend to result in a greater lack of freedom for us all.
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