For those of you unaware with the PROTECT IP or SOPA acts, I would recommend that you get familiar with them. Here's a few great resources:
- SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act) Infographic
- American censorship - A website where you can send a letter to your members of congress urging them to reject the bill.
- Also, if nothing else, at least watch this video so you can understand what's going on.
So anyways, that's a little bit of background. Here's what I think about the whole thing:
Piracy (as in using something without paying for it) is bad. However, I think that what the entertainment industry would like is for us not to even be able to THINK about copyrighted material without paying them royalties. This is clearly absurd.
Here's what needs to happen for piracy to be dramatically reduced:
- This bill needs to be blocked. This bill is censorship, not piracy reduction.
- Content providers need to STOP USING DRM for content that users purchase. I bet a good chunk of what is "pirated" (downloaded from torrents) is just people reclaiming what is theirs. (I know that I've torrented a few things for that very reason. I paid for it through amazon video, I feel that I should be able to have a file to play while my laptop is offline!) Content providers need to realize that DRM doesn't stop anyone from stealing anything. They also need to appreciate that everyone who wants to torrent will find a way around EVERYTHING they do to stop them.
- Content providers need to provide an easy and convenient (and straightforward) approach to purchasing their content. Amazon MP3 and iTunes (at least for music) are excellent examples of this. It's relatively reasonably priced, and it's fairly straightforward. (If iTunes was still the only download option and still had DRM, I would consider piracy an alternative to waiting days for music to arrive or going out to buy CDs.)
- Fair use laws need to be revamped so that content consumers have some right to do what they please with the materials. (i.e. use it in a video that they make) Obviously, these should't be extremely loose (like as loose as the creative commons license is), but they should allow a reasonable amount of flexibility.
- Services like Spotify and Netflix need to offer as wide a selection as possible for legal streaming. It's been shown that services like Spotify drastically reduced the amount of illegal downloading occurring.
I'm really hoping that step 1 on this list comes true. It really seems unfair that the entertainment industry should have control of what I say on the internet.
I don't know, maybe it's all part of a brainwashing scheme by the government! (Okay, probably not...)
I'll leave you with one more thing.
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
'till later (Maybe?)