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SOPA and PIPA - What's the big deal

Updated on January 22, 2012
Wikipedia had a 24 hour blackout
Wikipedia had a 24 hour blackout | Source

Of late SOPA and PIPA have been making waves both online and offline in the real world. So just what are these two? They are bills that have been introduced into the US lawmaking body, to help fight online piracy.

Stop Online Piracy Act (Sopa) and Protect Intellectual Property Act (Pipa) are essentially being backed by the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA). In a bid to fight piracy the US lawmakers are hoping to pass these bills into law.

Unfortunately there are many drawbacks to the proposed law and these will hamper the development of the internet. This is why big internet websites such as Wikipedia and Google, to name a couple, have come up with different ways to oppose the proposed laws.

Wikipedia had a blackout for 24 hours. It was their way of showing the world how it would be to live without easily available free knowledge on the internet. They also encouraged people to write to their congressman to stop the passing of the two bills. It did generate quite an impact on the blogosphere.

As for Google, the search engine giant came up with the idea of having a signed petition to stop the passing of the laws. It is heartening to know that they have managed to collect the support and digital signatures of more than 5000 people in the US already. What remains to be seen is just how effective the public opinion in the petition will be.

The truth is that piracy has always been around. People made copies of their tapes, recorded movies or music videos directly from the television, and sold them long before the internet and so called digital technology came in to being.

Yes with the advent of the internet the piracy became easier, but the internet is definitely not the cause of the piracy. It is just one more symptom. The truth is that fighting piracy is a losing battle that movie makers and music companies have been fighting. They lose royalties on each pirated tape or CD sold and that does hurt when the legitimate business would have made them money.

However the kind of blanket ban that the US is contemplating in the SOPA and PIPA is not the real answer or solution to the problem of piracy. Do you think by banning sites and putting a few people in jail the US will be able to solve the issue of piracy? No way. After all a person who wants to download a music video will always find a way to ask a friend to send it to him.

So what is the point of having such laws which do not stop piracy and at the same time hinder the growth of the internet? None what so ever. Intellectual property rights and common decency do require people to acknowledge the fact that they are using someone else's material, but you can't put them in jail for not doing so. At least that's my take on it.


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