Friday, 18 November 2011

Stop Online Piracy Act - SOPA

OK so you may have heard all the hype recently about the Stop Online Privacy Act or SOPA being discussed. First off the main thing to remember is that this act will only be in force in the USA, although the idea of it is good to protect peoples online IP and privacy, it is also solely aimed at protecting American online privacy, nowhere else.

The basis of the act is simply is will give additional powers to the US attorney to combat privacy from websites that are hosted outside the USA, this means that anysite hosting or offering information on how to infringe copyright will be a target, such sites includes torrent sites (hosting illegal movies, games, software, etc) and sites giving away source code for copyrighted materials.

Now I fully agree with the idea of protecting peoples IP and what this means for the world, I am not fully on the side of the Web giants on this one. It appears to me that the have not fully read and understood the new act, namely the fact that the act is not seeking to be a censorship of content, but simply to protect what people have created.

If we take youtube as a prime example, there a literally millions of videos on there, and not all of them are on there legally. Now whilst Google owns and hosts this site, it is Google that takes the wrap for this, yet under this new act Google will have additional powers to not only take the normal steps to remove the content, but can now take additional action outside the US on the people who uploaded the content and the ones who actually broke the IP.

So what I am saying is thay in my view this act is not intended to be a censorship act, more a protect the US act from foreigners. Now this is where I see the problem, we have a major organisation for keeping world peace, known as the UN or United Nations, it is in my view that there should be a higher act in place to protect everyone from IP theft, not just the US. Whilst I do understand that the US congress can only enforce US law, we all need to work to stop privacy and need to realise that there are lots of things online that are stolen, such as

  • movies
  • games
  • software
  • software code
  • documents
and many many more items, all of which need protecting. So I do not see why the major web giants are so oppossed to this act, as the act itself specifically states that it is not censoring the internet, and does not require the social media sites to constantly monitor its users or censor content. It is also only an addition to existing US IP law.

What I think needs to happen is that the major web giants, Google, FaceBook, AOL, etc need to work together with all countries in order to come up with a more global act to protect their and everyone elses IP. After all its unfair to blame Google, FaceBook, AOL or anyone else for one of their users posting links to illegal content.

So in short the act is a step in the right direction, but we need a more universal solution that covers all countries and not just the US, after all the internet and more specifically the World Wide Web is global (and a british invention).

Find out more about the act Stop Online Piracy ACT - SOPA



Thanks
Sean J Connolly

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