If you’re like me, then two weeks ago the words SOPA and PIPA made you think of this:
|Delicious fried pillows of happiness, served with a dallop of honey|
And now, unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know better, and SOPA might make you think of this:
|The January 18 blackout|
Backing up a bit: SOPA, otherwise known as the “Stop Online Piracy Act,” is an anti-piracy bill that was being hustled along quietly through Congress until Wikipedia brought it to everyone’s attention. That company, and several others, blacked out their pages on January 18 in protest of the bill. (PIPA, or the Protect Intellectual Property Act, is SOPA’s Senate twin.) I followed the story with mild interest, sharing The Oatmeal’s own hilarious protest, and assumed that everyone was united in their opposition to this piece of legislation. Then, while reading through a discussion of the subject on Facebook, I came across a published author I know who offered a different point of view. Unfortunately, I was unable to arrange for an interview with her in time for today’s post, so I’ll have to paraphrase for now.
|Arrr, matey: we be stealin' yer content|
That said, even he — and the author I spoke with — agree that SOPA and PIPA are over the top. The legislation, as written, is likely to cause more problems than it solves. This does not mean that piracy isn't a real problem, however — it is a problem, and one that could affect our livelihoods. Let us hope that with the additional attention on the issue of piracy, people won’t be satisfied simply with defeating these two bad pieces of legislation: they will work to find better ways to protect intellectual property. Let’s make the criminals work harder to steal an author’s work, without compromising intellectual freedom.
What is your opinion on SOPA/PIPA? Is there a way authors and other content creators can have their intellectual property better protected, without stifling Internet freedoms and enabling censorship?