I’ve been trying to learn a little about SOPA and PIPA today. Here are some resources I’ve found. Some are better than other, of course.
- End Piracy, Not Liberty (by Google)
- Wikipedia article (semi-protected, so not anyone can edit)
- Fight for the Future
- Stop American Censorship
- Protect Innovation
- WordPress.org blog
- Reddit blog
- Statement from Wikimedia Foundation
- Statement from Sergey Brin (co-founder of Google)
- SOPA Opera (tool to see positions of state representatives)
- An Open Letter from internet engineers
- An Open Letter from many internet business founders
- An Open Letter from 110 law professors
- An Open Letter from internet businesses
I’m not a fan of politics. I hate professional politicians. The professional politician is half of what’s wrong with this country. The other half is the greedy lawyer. Another half (these problems are getting so big that they are all halves, no matter how many) is the patent system, but it’s a smaller half (not much smaller, just smaller).
But congress is proving once again that they don’t have our country’s best interests at heart.
I don’t pirate music, movies, or software. Being a computer engineer, I very much believe that software developers deserve to be paid for a good product. I think the same is true for the music and media industries. But I think they are too quick to point the finger of falling sales at piracy. Most people are honest and buy music. Always have, and always will. Luckily, it’s a little easier to buy good music and avoid the not-so-good.
I’m a believer that there are honest people who couldn’t afford to buy all the music they liked, couldn’t get movies they wanted to see on Netflix and couldn’t afford the $10 movie ticket at the theatre, and who couldn’t afford to buy Windows XP. I think honest people who may have obtained movies, music, and software at a highly reduced cost might have later become loyal customers, buying every favorite Disney movie as it comes on Blu-ray, buying their favorite albums from the 90’s on Amazon, or buying Window, Office, and Photoshop at their premium prices. Not every person who downloaded a free mp3 from Kazaa was a horrible, music industry destroying criminal.
I know some people pirate everything they can. I don’t agree with that. It’s one thing to download the latest episode of a show when you don’t have cable TV. It’s another thing to copy every DVD, CD, or game you get your hands on to your hard drive and make copies for all of your friends. That’s dishonest.
That’s my take on piracy. And I hope that if you aren’t aware of SOPA or PIPA, that you now know a bit more. I’m sure by the end of tomorrow, you’re going to know a bit more. Many sites (including this one) are quietly going dark to protest SOPA. Many sites can’t afford to go dark, but may at least show a banner. Wikipedia is the biggest site to go dark. Reddit and minecraft.net come in close behind. Google will have a notice. Facebook and Twitter had better do something. They can’t possibly survive if SOPA or PIPA goes through. Social sharing would be destroyed. The internet as we know it would end.
Currently listening to: “When the World Ends” by Dave Matthews Band