The groundswell against “Protect IP/SOPA” is enormous, and with good cause. My particular objection regards how the legislation would affect Internet searches. Google describes the situation this way: “The U.S. government could order the blocking of sites using methods similar to those employed by China. Among other things, search engines could be forced to delete entire websites from their search results. That’s why 41 human rights organizations and 110 prominent law professors have expressed grave concerns about the bills” (source).
That companies and artists should be able to protect their work is unquestionable. Piracy is ruinous, and it stifles competition and creativity (one has only to look at China, where movie producers cannot thrive because nearly everyone there is buying pirated, American movies). But giving corporations and courts broad powers to censor the web is unacceptable.
It has also been noted that “Protect IP/SOPA” won’t actually stop piracy. Ironic. Still more ironic is that the industry is capable of adapting to circumstances. In the 1990s, digital music threatened to destroy the music industry. Countless millions simply downloaded music for free, robbing both artists and corporations of their just profits. Yet, the industry adapted. Today, the industry sells — profitably — 30-second ring-tones of songs for a buck or so. That’s pure gravy.
The greater consideration is, and should always be, the rights of citizens to gather information freely. “Protect IP/SOPA” would damage that right.
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