In today’s society, internet plays a pivotal role, influencing individuals in all classes, of all ages, and in various financial backgrounds. Because the Net dominates a large portion of the population’s time, many people have become accustomed to its current policies and ease of access to different types of media. So when consumers were threatened with the possibility of change, an enthusiastic reaction occurred worldwide. Internet users today are acclimated to downloading or torrenting music, games, and movies that would normally have a fee, for free, infringing the media’s copyrights in the process. Due to the rapid growth in this illicit activity, legislations such as SOPA, PIPA, and ACTA have been proposed; however they have been met with public cries of vexation and have been halted for the time being, but attempts are still being made to pass them. If these regulations are passed, it will result in the loss of revenue from foreign website providers, discontent sweeping worldwide, and the stifling of creativity and expression.
Legislation such as PIPA (Protect Intellectual Property Act), SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act), and ACTA (Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement) have been proposed to counteract online piracy or the infringement of copyrighted material. Currently there are already laws protecting copyrighted material, which includes the Digital Millennium Copyright Act or DMCA, which focuses on removing specific, unauthorized content from the internet (Condon). However, the music industry and film industry want to tighten copyright protection.
The new proposed regulations would target the platform hosting the content, rather than the content itself. SOPA would bestow the federal government with the power to shut down entire websites on the basis of being associated with piracy, without a trial or hearing (Grim). This means websites convicted of being associated with piracy will be completely shut down without the ability to appeal its case and have the opportunity to reopen its servers. The new legislation also targets foreign companies that sell stolen or counterfeited goods.
Those who support the proposed bills include the Motion Picture Association of America, CBS Corporation, NBC Universal, and the music industry. They argue that the internet today is unregulated and that, “innovation and jobs in content-creating industries are threatened by growing Internet Piracy” (Condon).
The claim that the internet is “unregulated” is false. The information highway is profoundly regulated. The DMCA, mentioned previously is only one of the regulations imposed on the internet which focuses on removing specific, unauthorized content from the internet (Condon). There are also numerous laws and regulations imposed protecting the privacy of the general public, the privacy of minors, and to protect malware and viruses from entering computers through internet usage.
While it is true that their corporations lose revenue from pirating, the loss in...