With recent events such as the Megaupload shutdown and occupy protests around the globe, the internet and its current state has been receiving much attention. The internet has become an integral part of our lives, link people overseas, transmitting ideas, and propelling innovation. Because of this, governments and service providers should not regulate, restrict, or censor the internet.
The Internet we know today serves as a medium for our entertainment, communication, and commercial needs. It is something many of us have come to take for granted. However, the original intended purpose of the first “internet” goes back to the days of the Cold War where the ever looming threat of a nuclear missile strike prompted the U.S., as well as many other countries, to build a robust, fault-tolerant, and distributed computer network. By 1970, ARPANET had been born, funded by the Department of Defense and linking research facilities from the east coast to the west.
Not until the 1990’s was the internet commercialized, gaining widespread popularity and incorporated into many aspects of our lives. With 2.2 billion people connected today, problems must undoubtedly rise. However, how different groups attempt to handle these problems can be as different as day and night. There are several issues at stake here regarding regulation, including anti-piracy laws, net neutrality, and freedom of speech.
The most recent of these issues concerns many pieces “anti-piracy” legislation that have appeared before Congress in the United States and before the European Union. In 2010, Congress attempted to quietly pass the Combatting Infringement and Counterfeits Act. Fortunately, news quickly spread and petitions were submitted to prevent its passing. Senator Wyden expressed is opposition when he said “Deploying this statute to combat online copyright infringement seems almost like using a bunker-busting cluster bomb when what you really need is a precision-guided missile. The collateral damage of this statute could be American innovation, American jobs, and a secure Internet."
This Year, the House tried passing the Stop Online Piracy Act, or SOPA as it has been come to be called. At first glance, it appears to be a reasonable bill aimed to protect the works of artists and copyright holders. If it seems too good to be true, it’s because there’s a catch. Any individual may file a complaint and have any site removed, cutting off the site’s revenue. In effect, “SOPA kills the safe harbor in the Digital Millennium Copyright Act,” (Dignan) which protects sites as long as they act in good faith and do all in their power to actively remove illegal content under copyright.
Under SOPA, the process required to respond to litigation or a complaint would likely absorb an average small host’s entire yearly profit. Given the small business nature of the hosting industry, hosting businesses are not in a position to absorb the litigation costs associated with SOPA. The...