Pinterest Stumbleupon Whatsapp

DRM copy protectionEver since the Internet began, online piracy has been a big problem with the two biggest casualties being the music industry (RIAA) and the movie industry (MPAA). The Internet made it extremely easy to download whatever people wanted and the music & movie industries responded with copy protection measures, including the infamous and universally hated Digital Rights Management (DRM). Then the music industry started going after people suspected of sharing music resulting in dirty tricks, absurd lawsuit judgments and miscarriages of justice.

Now it seems that the next trick up their sleeve is the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) which has been introduced to the US Congress as possible legislation. The Bill has its prominent supporters and opposers both inside Congress and outside it, as they argue either the Bill’s benefits or its disadvantages.

Here to lay it all out for you below is an infographic by the It explains what SOPA is, who supports it, who opposes it and what the advantages and disadvantages of it are.  It also tells you what you can do if you want to get involved in the debate.

After looking at the infographic, what are your views on SOPA? Are you for it or against it? Will it protect creativity and innovation, or destroy the freedom of the Internet? Let us know in the comments.  Don’t be shy.

Click on the infographic below to be taken to a larger clearer version

Behind SOPA: What It Means for Business and Innovation


Image Source : Toms Baugis

  1. Dee Cervs
    January 31, 2012 at 1:54 pm

    The masses cannot really benefit from it. Only those of really huge firms and companies are at a big advantage and  darn it, what is the internet if most of it is blocked? "What is the world without free knowledge?" If what they want is to protect from piracy and such and not to simply gain from it, then there must be better solutions they could think of, right?

    Therefore, it must never be imposed.  

  2. Smayonak
    December 23, 2011 at 4:33 pm

    My understanding of the flaws in SOPA is that its restrictiveness exceeds the scope of its purported goal in three main ways: first, it is overly broad and clearly not narrowly tailored (two legal tests it must pass in our judicial system). Second, it also causes "prior restraint"  - meaning it is so draconian (it elevates copyright infringement to a felony) that there is a "chilling effect" on free speech. Websites would be coerced into removing the comments section on websites, since infringing materials could be linked to from there; SOPA can blacklist entire websites for linking to infringing material (MakeUseOf would currently be in violation of SOPA). 

    Third, it concentrates power in the hands of a few and gives a cadre of unelected bureaucrats the authority to override the constitution. As I understand it (as opposed to the data contained in the infographic), there is no judicial oversight of this process (other than the opinion of one person in the DoJ).

    Below is an article which explains the overly broad components of SOPA: 

    • Jack Cola
      December 24, 2011 at 1:21 am

      I'm interested to know why you think MUO would be in violation of SOPA?

      • Smayonak
        December 24, 2011 at 5:12 am

        Even linking to infringing material, or sites that are deemed to be principally infringing websites, would be considered a violation. The service provider would be responsible for enforcement (they have one of several sanctioned enforcement options). So lets say MUO links to Reddit, a site in which photographs are frequently used without the permission of the authors - my reading of the law is that the service provider has fiat to blacklist your entire website.

        Or if someone were to link to, obviously, a site where piracy is its primary objective. The big question is the process/criteria used for determining if a site's purpose is to infringe on IP rights.

        • Jack Cola
          December 24, 2011 at 7:31 am

          MUO 99% of the time links to genuine websites and apps. But if you say you link to a website such as Reddit that contains infringing links, if you say your site get's blocked (let's say MUO get's blocked for linking to Reddit because Reddit was blocked for hosting infringing content), it would be a spiderweb and chain reaction of all the sites that link to MUO be blocked, then all those sites blocking other links until nothing on the internet is accessible - I doubt that would happen.

        • Smayonak
          December 24, 2011 at 8:07 am

          You're absolutely right, that wouldn't happen. Many analysts have been more concerned with the possibility that SOPA's true intent is to stifle competition.

          Here's an example: Lets say that Viacom, which owns CNET, decided that MUO was competing for readership and, thus advertising money with one of its media organizations. Would it be that difficult to shut MUO down based on its links to Reddit? After all, it meets all the criteria.

  3. Jack Cola
    December 16, 2011 at 1:04 am

    5 years in jail for downloading illegal music.

    Everyone who is an illegal downloader, quickly head to the police station and request to go to Jail - they don't have enough places to look after everyone - that would screw the entire policy up.

    Can can't pick and choose who they want to target - it's either everyone, or no one. Take your pick SOPA supporters - you're killing the world for greed.

    Don't like what people are doing to your content - don't create any. Simple

  4. Dale6888
    December 15, 2011 at 7:47 pm

    I have no problem with these companies trying to protect their intellectual property or goods from piracy. However, if there's this much opposition to this particular proposal then the opposers need to give some input as to what they feel is a fair alternative and let's keep some dialogue on this issue. Let's search for the middle ground.

    I'm confident that somewhere out in the vast array of users of the internet is someone with an idea that can bring both sides together and get consensus from the majority of the people involved/affected by it.

    There will always be a group who want to maintain the complete freedom of any type of monitoring/censorship of the internet. That's one end of the spectrum. Then there are those who want total control and someone to scrutinize every bit of information that is accessible from any computer at any time. The goal here needs to be to find that "sweet-spot" somewhere between these two extremes where the majority of reasonable people feel comfortable.

    You can never make everyone happy but you can make the majority feel like they've had input and have came to a reasonable consensus that they can live with.

  5. Dave Parrack
    December 15, 2011 at 4:12 pm

    It won't achieve what it's intended for but will cause untold problems across the Web. Sounds like a no-brainer to me.

  6. Dbhausman
    December 15, 2011 at 4:05 pm

    Stop online piracy act...I am for it.

    • Mark O'Neill
      December 15, 2011 at 5:25 pm

      Why are you for it?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *