I’m a day late getting to the SOPA/PIPA Protest. I spent Blackout Day trying to find a comfortable position. My back and shoulders suddenly decided to go on strike against the rest of my body, and the picket lines they erected made life for the whole gang pretty uncomfortable. I alternated between lying down, sitting up, wandering around, ice packs, pain killers, and the odd dose of dark chocolate.
Things have settled down a bit today, so I can spend some time thinking about my position on the Stop Online Piracy Act. The goal of the United States House of Representatives seems worthy enough. In the briefest terms, the intent of it is: “… H.R. 3261 allows the Attorney General to seek injunctions against foreign websites that steal and sell American innovations and products.”
The devil is in the details and the enforcing of this legislation could possibly restrict the rights and freedoms of everyone, not just the pirates. In the end, the pirates will find other ways to keep doing business, leaving those who abide by the law holding yet another bag of restrictions.
Of course, I am a Canadian, so I don’t spend too much time worrying about yet another limitation on the rights of Americans. But this new legislation is being supported by the American Music and Movie industry, the pharmaceutical industry and the electronic and auto industries, groups that seem a bit like pirates themselves sometimes.
I think the internet today is like the Old West – open, free, and dangerous if you don’t take responsibility for your own welfare. Maybe SOPA is akin to when the military moved in to make things safer for folks who should probably have just headed back East to where things weren’t quite so wild.
The responsibility for policing the internet belongs to each and every person who accesses it. There would be no desire for legislation like SOPA if there weren’t so many ‘law abiding’ individuals who are willing to buy cheap pirated product.