SOPA, PIPA, and the Battle of Money

Earlier this week I took my blog down for the day to protest SOPA. This was easy for me to do because I don’t derive income from my website and because WordPress made it as easy as clicking a box to join in the protest.

Of course, easy or not, I wouldn’t have done it if I hadn’t believed in the cause. SOPA and similar bills, both in the past and future, threaten creativity and, more importantly, grant a little too much power to “Big Brother”.

Rather than explain it all to you myself, listen to Clay Shirky on the topic:

That pretty much sums up most of what you need to know, but there is more. [Ed Note: Almost immediately after hitting publish, Clay published a great post about not underestimating Hollywood]

Consider this…

A few years ago, I found a person blatantly copying my posts, and those of fellow Content Management bloggers, and marketing it as their own. I was upset. I wanted to take action. The only action I could realistically take, outside of complaining, was bring attention to it. I did so and it eventually stopped.

I felt violated. With SOPA I could have brought a charge and the site could have been shut down and removed. The legal authorities likely would have ignored me. Now imagine if I worked for a large company with lots of money, like Universal Studios. I’d get a lot of benefit of the doubt.

The thing is, we are all pirates and all copyright holders. Josh Bernoff of Forrester Research  wrote a brilliant article on the topic yesterday. It clearly shows how we are all, on some level, hypocrites. We don’t like anti-piracy rules until they impact us.

If you think that you don’t have a bone in this fight, you have to read Josh’s article.

We have two choices, we stifle all sharing and the ability to build upon those items or we watch our personal creations get used beyond our control.

The thing is, no matter what side you come down on, the “real pirates” stealing that original HBO special that aired last night will still continue. Legislation can never keep up with technology, at least not since the early 1900s.

Maybe we should work on teaching ethics and the concept fair use to everyone. If we have a strong moral compass as a society, this ceases to be enough of a problem to matter.

5 thoughts on “SOPA, PIPA, and the Battle of Money

  1. Jed says:

    LOL, Pie, don’t take this the wrong way from a non-American, but the idea of teaching “ethics” to either the House of Representatives or the Senate makes me roll around the floor laughing.

    SOPA / PIPA are sponsored by the Motion Picture Association of America, – big bucks ! Big business paying big dollar for top notch “lobbying” and techno-retarded congress critters and representatives standing up to support it. Money talks…….

    Until the U.S. can reform it’s political system, particularly the professional lobbyists of the “vested interests” then teaching ethics is but a pipe dear sir 🙂


    • You know, if we as a society are ethical then content producers have less to gripe about. This extends beyond the leaders, but to everyone. If we can maintain an ethical standard, then we can start demanding it in our leaders. We are too content to look the other way when anyone pirates anything. Software, music, video, books… As Josh said in his article, it is everywhere.


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