Friday January 20, 2012
SOPA and PIPA, two words that people across the globe love to hate
Friday Reflections - By B.K. Sidhu
SOPA and PIPA are two words that people across the globe love to hate.
Social media networks such as Twitter and Facebook are buzzing with comments from people all over the world, all expressing their frustrations over SOPA and PIPA.
Over 7,000 websites have joined Wikipedia to strongly protest against SOPA and PIPA by blacking out their content for 24 hours on Wednesday. Their reason create awareness so that people know the new legislation is designed to curb online piracy and the impact it will have on Netizens. Any infringement of piracy can land someone in jail for three, four or even five years.
That explains why the tweets on Twitter have gone berserk, some saying “imagine a world without Internet; Urge Obama to veto #PIPA and #SOPA if they make it through Congress; SOPA and PIPA have nothing to do with piracy, it's to do with The Arts' companies losing money to Internet content; Tell the US congress to stop Internet censorship and reject the #SOPA #PIPA bills-Sign the urgent petition; Some people still think that SOPA is something to wash yourself with and PIPA is the sister of a princess.''
SOPA stands for Stop Online Piracy Act and PIPA, Protect Intellectual Property Act, not Prince William's sister-in-law Pippa Middleton.
Google said over 4.5 million people signed its online petition to Congress, voicing displeasure at the legislation; and Twitter said more than two million posts against the legislation. Wikipedia said 162 million saw its blackout landing page, and in the United States, eight million looked up Congressional rep to protest SOPA and PIPA.
What has got all the people worked up?
SOPA and PIPA are “two bills currently in discussion in the US Congress with an aim to strengthen copyright law''. The lobbyists for the two bills are the “powerful supporters, including lawmakers, the movie and music industries, and the US Chamber of Commerce''.
The lobbyists had expected a huge victory but not a backlash from the public.
Though the intention may be good, what worries people is that the “language used in these bills are seen to be vague'' and if any “intellectual property owner feels its copyright has been violated, they can have the site taken down without the normal due process of law.''
If the United States gets its way, this could set the example for other countries to follow suit, and that worries the rest of the world. As it is, China has a cap on content.
The Internet is the best thing that has happened to our lives; imposing unreasonable laws will only stifle the growth of businesses and individuals alike.
The Internet is now a social, business and economic tool as it educates, entertains and informs. You would not have been able to buy books online from Amazon without the Internet, nor could you send e-mails to your children if not for the Internet.
Taking that away will impact your life. But like everything else, there is the good and bad side. The bad side is often related to piracy and creators and aggregators want to protect their rights so that they get royalty for what they've created.
The question many are asking is, should we allow a few individuals to control the seven billion population of the world by pushing through this legislation or should it be refined?
By 2015, over 80% of the world population will have mobile phones and that means they will have access to all sorts of information. So, should that evolution be stopped?
This anti-piracy legislation will not only violate freedom of speech but stifle growth of nations and people and it could, as someone pointed out “break the Internet''. Are we heading in that direction or should the Internet remain a domain that is “free to use, explore and express”?