The Effects of SOPA and PIPA
SOPA and PIPA are two legislative bills introduced in the House of Senate and Representatives respectively. SOPA stands for Stop Online Piracy Act, while PIPA stands for Protect IP Act. SOPA’s aim was to enable the United States law enforcement systems counter online piracy through copyrights, intellectual property, and imitated goods. It facilitated for enhanced court summons, preventing network publicists and disbursement institutions from carrying out business with infringing websites, and enabled search networks from connecting to the sites. Further court summons call for the Internet Service Providers to shun away from accessing such dangerous sites. Furthermore, the acts saw the modification of current criminal laws to incorporate unlawful downloading of copyrighted items. On the other hand, Protect IP Act’s main objective was to provide copyright owners with means to prevent contact with national rogue sites, which targeted counterfeiting goods, more so with foreign ones. The legislation explains that an infringement is the circulation of illegitimate copies, phony merchandise or anti digital rights management machinery. It entails cases where a site is used mostly as a mean to take part in the activities stated above, or web pages, which are allowing or facilitating such violations. It allows suing of foreign rogue websites, who are operated and registered. The legislation calls for government legal advisor to give notice to the defendant. The moment a court issues summons to pecuniary contract providers, advertising providers, the Internet Service Providers and information site tools are obliged to cease financial relationships with rogue sites and eventually to remove any contact with it. PIPA is constricted in a manner that it would only affect websites that promote piracy, a good example of this is Scapegoat, a popular website for free content.
Crusaders of PIPA law affirm that it will protect the intellectual property market and other related key players, jobs, and proceeds. The legislation is geared to boost enactment of regulations of copyright on different online services, especially unknown and unfamiliar sites. Proponents argue that loopholes in current legislation do not cater for sites being run overseas, thus, putting local websites at risks. Opponents of SOPA, PIPA laws, on the other hand, claim that the bills will limit people’s innovation abilities and put the freedom of speech in question. They cite crossing of boundaries by SOPA “secure sites” protections from burden, currently paid to the Internet spots by the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. Their concerns have further been backed by Association of Librarians, pointing out they would fall victims to these bills, while other opponents of SOPA, PIPA would resonate to a tag of war, as implementation would require high-tech machines going against the First Amendment (Hiles 34).
The bills do not further explain the extent of infringement, meaning it could cover the Internet service providers and web hosting services; as a result, it may influence virtually the whole Internet. The legislation does not give further details of infringement, thus, it could cover the Internet service providers, web hosting services or any site that relates to a supposed infringer. The two bills do little to defend potential suspect. Others point out that stipulations under the bill give protection to payment processors and copyright holders to issue court summons to companies that advertise online, or any other network that does so virtually, to cut off further business transactions with suspected infringers. It crowns copyright owners with “too much powers” over websites. The bills further give protection from being sued by ISPs, networks that do online advertising, domain name registrars that willingly cut off links of suspected encroachers, thus, discriminatory action may raise. The objects of concern here are the overseas websites that do business to infringe the US copyrights. Question is, “Are rights to freedom of expression and creativity protected?” Following a series of protest by major key players in the industry, lawmakers withdrew support of the two antipiracy bills. The protests seemed to change the minds of lawmakers, including those that had strongly supported the bills in the past. Republican Senator Roy Blunt stated that the two bills were flawed and that the solution to protect lawful content would rise and that more time should be taken to tackle the fear rose by all stakeholders and formulate policies that address the Internet piracy, while protecting free and open access to the Internet. Other legislators cited that online theft of intellectual property must be stopped; current proposed bills raise serious legal, policy, and operational concerns.
There have been online protests on the two bills by sites, such as Wikipedia, Word Press, and Google. The Megaupload incident, which was shut down, and a number of its workers were accused of copyright infringement, led to massive protests. They argue that preventing contact to large piracy sites seems like “ Chinese style censorship” of freedom of expression; determination ”break the Internet” pay no attention to other forms of scrutiny by most legal websites that do not infringe copyright. The underlying factor, are the protest by the technology society aggravated by principle or profit? Online piracy is sometimes viewed as victimless offence, for example, entertainment moguls have made tones of money through the Internet. Fact is that most entertainers take home less than the general income, and all involved in the entertainment industry are negatively affected by piracy. On the other hand, large corporations pocket millions made by downloaders, who save music, movies, articles, and other content for nothing. Free downloads, offered by online hosters, charge extra money for upload of most well-liked files, which are normally faster and take less time to download. In the long run, they rake billions from advertising online, with search for unlawful free music and movies, a main driver of traffic. Broadband providers charge a fee for additional bandwidth, which they use for downloading free stuff.
Steve Jacobs, Apple's former chief executive, recognized the need for both creative and technology sector to work hand in hand. Among such companies, who have taken the initiative, are Google and some Internet service providers by initiating their own digital music service. For a successful working digitized world, the big fish in the industry must put minting money from piracy aside and give creativity the first priority. Apart from raising accountability for many lawful techs, the awaiting legislation may not end piracy as such. Wiping out these rogue sites might seem easier to protect copyright infringement in the long run, as dozen others spring up. A much enhanced move towards protecting copyrighted material would be looking into why many people share these materials. Being hard on by legislating piracy would lead to pushing consumers further, who are the key factors to online business success.
On a grater scale, piracy has been used by online business operators as a marketing indicator. Consumers have the privilege of analyzing disparity between tenders made by both big Media Moguls and their orders. In the case of introduction of the MP3-player and the iPad, it was difficult for consumers in other countries to buy music and upload it to the devices. The demand was immense, while key media players were not providing a solution. This situation triggers piracy as mismatch is seen. The entertainment industry must, therefore, offer services that make unlawful downloading outmoded for most consumers in order to put piracy to an end. In regions, such as Europe, people watch US TV programs by sharing files despite the fact that these programs are free. What consumers want is quality services enhanced. Earlier, the entertainment industry has often gone after particular infringers - people who have uploaded stuff on the Internet and were sharing it. Apparently, they are going after websites that link to these sites, while the bill is supposed to let copyright holders get court orders against the infringers. The underlying problem is that the measures are too wide-ranging and too open; major sites could fall victims by frivolous claim. The two bills are seen as not just threats to the U.S. economy, and all jobs in the technology sector, sites, like Reedit, would not be in existence. Negotiators must, therefore, forge a balance between protecting Americans intellectual property and maintaining openness and creativity through the Internet (Smedinghoff 46). The crackdown on intellectual theft received overwhelming support from creative industries. The creative industry around the world has been discouraged with delays in implementing provisions premeditated to prohibit on piracy. Among the pending legislations is the United Kingdom's Digital Economy Act. Absence of this legislation has created a vacuum in the war against piracy. As a result, most organizations have resorted in using old laws that are not deterrent enough.
European countries argue that in order to preserve the benefits of the open Internet, such bills should not be introduced. What is needed is valuable, impartial legislation that protect the open Internet. Piracy is illegal; but one cannot stop such rogue activities by putting stumbling blocks or denying access to the free Internet. The existing copyright systems have not achieved its objectives fully, because it has become an uphill task to implement copyright lawfully. Furthermore, in Europe and other parts of the world, entertainment players are making a shocking 800 pounds per month through the Internet from copyright. There are lots of prospective input for new systems of acknowledgment and remuneration. Frequently these fresh ideas are “gagged” by stiff pre-digital legislation. Temporarily legislation of such bills can serve impartiality against creativity and circulation forms, for example, e-books do not benefit from the same VAT reduced rates as "physical" books do. The Internet is a key to economic and infrastructure development in both the developed and the third world countries, through the creation of awareness, accountability, and transparency in government institutions (Smedinghoff 67). Nonetheless, the Internet vivacity, web and other technologies are being put under jeopardy by a disagreement between proponents seeking the copyright protection versus opponents seeking the freedom of expression. Legislative channels, safeguarding the copyright, would have a devastating impact on the Internet. This means penetration of further government approval of substance plus disconnection of subscribers, which culminated in protests by major sites, such as Google and Wikipedia.
Crusaders, such as the Internet “hacktivists” and Anonymous, launched rejection of service break-ins. The proceedings of almost every stakeholder in this argument have been gravely uncompromising. In the short run, dialogue is important between the two opposing sides. Each has failed to be open to dialogue, deeming it unnecessary. In the long run, entertainment sectors must concentrate on improving business and coming up with spanking new thoughts that are sustainable in the digital age. Key players in the industry must come to terms that freedom of speech and copyright cannot be dealt with as a single issue. The two are part of a larger environmental plan that interrelates hand in hand. The fundamental design of intellectual property rights (copyrights and patents) was established to encourage authors, artists, and innovators in general to keep producing materials that benefit society as a whole. The main benefits of this development were that authors were granted unlimited rights to their products for a certain duration. This also ensured that creators had enough time to distribute and market their products.
As it stands today, society is not receiving much in the way of expired copyrighted material to add to the open field. The copyrights are overly restraining in many aspects. If the current trends are allowed to continue, the entertainment industry may be in serious trouble. It is persuasive to conclude that the freedom of speech overrides other ethics of interests, but it is a great indication that freedom of speech is being eroded by copyright, accountability, confidentiality and data protection, security of the general public, and other matters. Online business owners must, therefore, protest and be ready to counter such incidents. Such retaliations are becoming the norm rather than the exclusion. The attacks may cause considerable loss by disrupting e-commerce, information exchange, and access to vital online services (Hiles 89).
For instance, groups, like Anonymous, which took recognition for the attacks in the Megaupload incident, recruit participants by simply clicking on a link. Businesses that have undergone such attacks should stay alert. For example, key players in the industry, such as Recording Industry Association of America, Motion Picture Association of America and other entertainment key players, have seconded protests to repress digital copyright infringement. Over time, they found themselves at the crossroads and are likely toning down onto the issue. They can do a lot more than endure the heated debate. Embrace of corporate security policies technological process that would sense counter and alleviate threats. These would include incorporating their Internet service providers to increase bandwidth to absorb Distributive Denial of Service flooding attacks; subscribing to services that can redirect some types of attack traffic clean and install on-premises appliance that are effective against all types of DDoS attacks. Every organization is vulnerable to Hacktivists attacks, based on their actions and corporate philosophy.
In some countries, such as India and China, they do not conform to the United States copyright laws. For example, a CD goes for as low as 2 dollars in the open market. Computers come bundled with thousands of dollar worth software. In Mexico piracy is unlawful, but it is practiced everywhere across the streets. The question is, “Why should the US citizens pay when almost half of the world is trading it for nearly free?” Innovations provide education and possibilities for improved living standards.
All in all, this new bills ties together all web sites and maintains that punitive action will be instigated against web sites that promote violation of copyright by users. These provisions enlarge the power of the United States over foreign websites accountable for infringing copyrighted material. It puts all the Internet consumers in the spot light. The Internet community is sharply divided when it comes to the issue of SOPA, PIPA. It is our duty to ensure that access to the Internet is global in all spheres and corners of the earth; at the same time, it is important to address piracy from all angles. It would not be diminished until legal processes are increased. The global spread of the Internet is one of the most promising technological developments of the 21st century. It is recorded that 2 billion people are the Internet users globally, and the number is expected to grow over the coming years especially in the third world countries, whose populations are set to come online in large numbers. Civilization of freedom of expression and sharing within the intellectual communities resulted in growth of the Internet and web. More than 40 years down the line of its development, many subscribers are for the freedom of online expression. Increased number of supporters of online freedom of expression has led to outbursts and protests against any legislation that would counteract this.
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