SOPA and PIPA: Copyright Protection or Threat to Free Speech?
JANUARY 24, 2012:
Mary Maloney, Senior Account Executive
Content Marketing Leadership
When Wikipedia chose to "go dark" by shutting down its site last Wednesday, people really took notice. Google took a symbolic stand by blacking out its iconic name on its homepage and many other sites took a stand as well.
This online protest (and others that occurred offline) had an impact. Both SOPA and PIPA were shelved indefinitely just two days later.
The legislation that was at the heart of this story is two-fold: in Congress, SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act) and in the Senate, PIPA (PROTECT IP Act – Preventing Real Online Threats to Economic Creativity and Theft of Intellectual Privacy Act). CNN's MoneyBlog covered the ins and outs of SOPA and honed in on the main gist of the legislation, that being that SOPA would require U.S. search engines, payment services providers (think PayPal) and advertisers to cut off services to pirates in hopes that the sites couldn't survive.
Who supported this legislation?
A number of media companies supported this legislation because it targeted Internet piracy of copyrighted works, primarily overseas. The Motion Picture Association of America was one key backer. Who could blame them? They lose billions of dollars to pirates and counterfeiters who sell or give away copies of or links to the movies they produce.
Content piracy is nothing new (think Napster) and many copyright infringements were addressed by the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. The challenge comes when you try to control what's happening overseas.
While opponents didn't begrudge content creators – movie studios to song writers to authors – the right to be paid for their work, they believed the legislation would lead to censorship and drastically change the way content is handled on the Internet. They feared that SOPA would hold sites – both foreign and domestic – liable for content uploaded by individual users, which would require sites like YouTube to review content uploaded by millions of users each week.
Hear what Priority's Interactive Marketing Strategist Jason Douglas had to say last Wednesday about the impact on Twin Cities radio station K-TWIN.
Both sides had valid points. Listen to the two sides square off in a debate on Democracy Now between Wikipedia co-founder Jimmy Wales and Sandra Aistars, Executive Director of the Copyright Alliance (members include the MPAA, NBC Universal, Time Warner, Viacom, ASCAP and BMI).
Thank you Wikipedia for standing up for the sharing of knowledge! (I missed you.)
This blog post was originally published on the Priority Blog at priorityresults.com/blog. Priority Integrated Marketing is now BlueSpire Strategic Marketing.