The word on everyone’s minds today is SOPA, Stop Online Piracy Act. I don’t think most people understand the consequences of SOPA. They are looking at the stated purpose and not seeing the long term consequences.
The stated purpose sounds good. Stop the piracy of information on the net. Think about who this really helps. It doesn’t help you or me. It’s not protecting us from anything. I don’t even think those it is supposed to protect understand the consequences.
The way it is written, the government can blackout any site accused of posting copyrighted or protected material. So let’s think this through.
Let’s say that you go to the movies and see a trailer for an awesome film. You come home go online and find that trailer and then you post the link to that trailer on Facebook. Did you go through the trouble of writing to the studio and asking for their permission to post the link? Of course not, you just shared copyrighted material without permission. The studio is hoping that you will do just that and create buzz for the film. The more buzz the film generates before it opens, the more money the studio makes when that movie opens.
SOPA however, opens the way for anyone to report that link as an infringement of copyright. Under SOPA the government can now blackout Facebook. Not your profile but the site itself.
Now lets take it one step further, are you a blogger? Have you ever posted a blog and linked to anohter site for information? Kind of like I have done here linking to the text of the SOPA proposal. Linking to any site is a potential infringement of copyright. So goodbye to most of the blogs out there.
Now lets talk about blogs/news sites that offer opinion or bring things into the open. All of these sites can be blacked out under SOPA. The flow of information can be completely stopped except for ‘approved’ media outlets which is the most troubling aspect of SOPA in my opinion.
When you block the free flow of information, you control what information is available. So let me show you how dangerous this is for those who do not grasp that fact. Hitler’s Nazi Regime controlled ever aspect of the average German’s life by controlling the media.
A controlled media does not facilitate the flow of information, it guarantees that the only information that flows is state approved propaganda.
If you live in the US, you had better think seriously about the long-term implications of SOPA. While it might start as ‘protecting’ copyright, it has the potential to end in a society based on thought control.