Like the Empire striking back in Star Wars, the internet is preparing for the battle to end all battles. In response to the SOPA and PIPA Act, websites are shutting down tomorrow to show their disapproval of the U.S. legislation. The two acts hope to regulate the many avenues of the internet, which allow for piracy online.
Although I am dedicated to being a consumer, buying products fair and square, the legislation feels moot. To me, it’s like trying to control air. Not only has the internet become a medium that the entire world rely upon, but it is not something tangible. You can’t hold the internet in your hand. I don’t even think it has a fail safe switch that we can just shut off if Skynet took over one day.
There is another problem in addition to the insane task of regulating something that we cannot physically touch. The legislation addresses the freedom of speech in a subtle way. To most people, the idea of stopping piracy is great. It seems straightforward that the acts stop counterfeit goods and protect intellectual property.
But where do we draw the line in regulating the freedom to share ideas, pictures, and videos almost instantaneously? If it starts with piracy, where will it go? As a writer, you would think I would love the idea of my writing being protected if I decided to make it into an e-book. It would comfort me, but instead I’m afraid at where the regulations of the internet will impair me. Will it stop this website from allowing regular people to blog about their lives? Will it stop me from purchasing a domain name for my books because the site isn’t within the regulation?
These fears are just scratching the surface of the issue SOPA and PIPA are creating. The internet is the future of humanity’s advancement. Do you think we should allow this to happen? Or should we let the internet bloom and prosper as the users regulate it ourselves?
I will return on Thursday as WordPress is doing its duty and shutting down at 12:00 am Wednesday Jan. 18, 2012. If you want to read about the blackout refer to this article: