Think about all the countless hours you spend watching YouTube videos, looking at images on Pinterest or reading posts on blogs.
Now, picture them gone in an instant due to new government regulations. All across the country, millions are using these websites for their own entertainment or learning. The government is now trying to pass an internet censorship bill called the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA).
With SOPA, corporations will have more control over their copyrighted materials. This is a good idea to a certain extent. Corporations such as the Hollywood movie studios that are supporting this bill are trying to make sure they get as much money and accreditation as possible for the products they produce.
Websites such as YouTube would not exist if this bill was active at the time of its creation. There didn’t seem to be a problem originally, but now that sites like YouTube have become so profitable, corporations want a cut of the earnings.
According to the Huffington Post, if this new bill is passed, companies would basically be able to force websites like YouTube to remove all the material belonging to the Hollywood movie industries and music production companies. This can include a demand to shut down non-complying websites.
These types of threats also affect consumers. Shouldn’t the consumer have a say in the matter? Stricter laws could possibly in fact lead to a loss of revenue for some, especially those businesses that advertise heavily on media sharing sites.
SOPA is a good idea; however, some of the guidelines established need to be more realistic to both sides. People complain about how the government has so much power now but with this new law, it will also have authority over everything that goes onto the Internet. The government should not have the ability to control every aspect of the lives of citizens.
Piracy is a bad thing. There are alternate routes that can be taken to prevent this from happening, such as establishing fees or targeting the more extreme pirating sites.
Our lives are based on the mass of freely circulating knowledge and media that can be found on the Internet. This bill challenges the building blocks upon which our generation has grown. Some regulation is necessary, but this bill is not the answer.