I’ve made a decision.
You’d think this would be easy, keeping up to date content on the blog. But sometimes, we make sacrifices for the rest of our life, and my schooling has cut into the time I usually spend studying my craft. I’m still reading blogs in the mean time, but it’s a stolen few minutes here and there.
So what have I decided to talk about instead in my Monday slot?
It’s the other thing I read on regularly (and if you follow me on Google+ you probably have noticed this) is politics. I don’t mean party politics, I don’t think party platforms are at all helpful in the long run.
What I want to talk about is law-making, Supreme Court rulings, human rights, and policy from every branch of the American (Sorry international readers, I bleed red, white, and blue) government.
These bills share a purpose, and it’s spelled out in their short titles. They are an attempt to ‘protect’ intellectual property by giving either ‘content producers’ or the Attorney General the power to block whole websites for perceived infringement of intellectual property.
My problems with these bills are the process which the bills lay out, the response to potential intellectual priority theft, and who they give power to. First of all, both of these bills have a one or two step process that shuts down websites. In SOPA, the Attorney General can obtain a court order to shut down a website. In Protect IP a content producer (Read: Entertainment-producing corporation) can send a demand directly to the DNS.
The second issue is how hard these bills hit websites. These aren’t like current intellectual property laws, that have a multiple step process and only remove the offending content, they remove the entire website from its DNS host. You can still reach these websites by typing in their IP address, but you can’t use their URL. This is pretty harsh considering current laws regarding intellectual property.
Finally, and this applies specifically to Protect Intellectual Property, though it applies to SOPA due to the way matters are handled in the court system, is that these bills give further power to corporations that already have the money to defend their IP, while leaving independent content creators to the old methods of well written requests with escalating legal action if the creator can afford it.
That’s the worse sin of these bills, I think, that independent creators are left in the cold even if these bills claim to be there to help us.
Tell me, readers, what are your thoughts on the matter? These bills good for the internet, or do we need to stop these where they stand?
As is always my advice for members of representative democracies: Get informed, write your representatives, and share your ideas. We’re stronger together, even when we disagree.