Internet in jeopardy

Stop Online Piracy Act is poised to damage the internet

The Internet the world has come to know today may become a lot more restricted if HR 3261 is passed.

House Resolution 3261 is also known as the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA). Representative Lamar Smith of Texas introduced the bill.

The bill, if signed into law, would expand the abilities of the legal system to fight the theft of intellectual properties by going after websites found to be hosting such content.

Lynn Overmyer, Ferris senior in the graphic design program said, “This bill would shut down the information superhighway that is the Internet.”

Instead of the current system where websites are issued takedown notices by the copyright holders, SOPA would have the legal system fight the websites full force. This would include causing search engines like Google, Yahoo and Bing to remove the websites from their listings, payment organizations like Paypal and Visa to stop transactions to such websites, and even Internet service providers to block access to the websites.

This would also mean that any website that hosts user-uploaded content could be threatened, including YouTube, Tumblr and Flickr.

Another issue with the bill is that it already has its loopholes, where companies who were once affiliated with the United States would simply just leave. This loss of jobs and capital could severely affect the economy as it grows increasingly reliant on the Internet. It also means that if the website is located overseas, it still can be affected but not to the same severity.

Stephen Clark, Ferris junior pre-pharmacy student, said “Piracy is wrong but [SOPA] is flawed since it gives the American government so much power over what is a worldwide entity.”

The bill is currently supported by organizations that rely on the strength of copyrights such as the Motion Picture Association of America, Recording Industry of America, Viacom, and other cable, movie and music industries. SOPA’s support is also spreading to other companies. NBCUniversal sent a letter to all of its advertisers, advising them to support SOPA.

The sister bill working through the Senate is the PROTECT IP Act, which would block access to foreign websites found to be “dedicated to infringing or counterfeit goods.”

As with any possible Congressional act, send your support or opposition to the cause by contacting your local House Representative or Senator.


Piracy isn’t wrong. If you think of the internet as a giant library (which it basically is) then we are just sharing information. There is literally no difference between a library sharing a book or cd and a “pirate” sharing a book or cd, aside from the fact that it is  more convenient to do from a computer. Under no circumstances should the free-flow of information be monitored. When the printing press was invented, similar “censorship” laws were put into place to prevent freedom of press.

Labels have been unable or unwilling to provide music at a low cost in a way that is as convenient as piracy to consumers. The people who enjoy being artists will continue to do it. Those who are only in it for the money will stop. It’s a win-win, and when an artist gets 3% of the profit from CD sales, it’s not like they benefiting from labels much anyway. I don’t care if it causes a loss of jobs for the same reason I don’t care that there is no longer such thing as a telegram delivery man or chimney sweep. The free-market should ultimately decide where a person works. Come at me music industry management majors.

Comparing the internet to a library is like me comparing you to Albert Einstein. Sure you’re both human beings, but he was a genius and you are ignorant. A library operates under a liscensing agreement and is supported by the local community. They liscense out the material from the copyright owners with the understanding that it will not be duplicated and only shared with members of the library. Internet pirates however have no such agreement or understanding with copyright owners.

You can copy anything from a library under Fair Use laws. That’s how a library works in the first place. They don’t need a “licensing agreement”.  Only shared with members of the library? You are telling me I can’t walk into any library in the United States and read a book while I’m inside? Who is the ignorant one? Both piracy and libraries exist to allow free distribution of information. Loaning out a CD from a library is any different from downloading it off the internet. Sure, you have to return it to the library, but that’s only to let other people use it, and that’s aside from the fact that you can continuously renew your loan. When you have the technology to copy a CD and let other people use it at the same time, there is no difference. Doesn’t this sound familiar? Subsitute internet and piracy, and it’s the exact same thing we are hearing now. “We are facing a very new and a very troubling assault … and we are
facing it from a thing called the video cassette recorder and its
necessary companion called the blank tape. We are going to bleed and bleed and hemorrhage, unless this Congress at
least protects one industry … whose total future depends on its
protection from the savagery and the ravages of this machine, the VCR.” -Former President of MPAA

Ignorant? You honestly think that SOPA is a good idea? I cannot believe that anyone would actually support censorship. Snoop Dogg, along with numerous other artists wrote a song in support of Megaupload. Universal music got their song taken off of Youtube because it “supported piracy”. The kicker? It wasn’t recorded or produced or had anything to do with Universal. Now imagine instead of videos getting taken down without due process, entire websites can get taken down due to a single copyright infringement claim. SOPA will protect and facilitate innovation? Bullshit. Companies like Universal will continue to make claims like that so they can stay on the top. Small websites will be riskier to start up and less likely to receive funding. It’s kind of sad that this law actually has any chance of passing and is actually being debated. 60 year old politicians who receive donations from music and movie companies, who don’t even know how DNS blocking or the internet works, are supporting this. Does that sound like a good thing?

I never said I support SOPA. I just don’t support internet piracy. Not so much because I support sensorship but because it’s stealing. Any one who takes something without authroization is stealing and that is wrong. Fair Use, BTW says you can only copy a certain percentage of the copyrighted work.

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