Lacking any clear answer, the best choice in this particular case would be to forge ahead very carefully. There have been so many reversals of opinion on this from leadership companies that it should go back to the drawing board.
Hi Bolaji. Its a good point. And according to SOPA, that site could be shut down at the DNS level upon complaint with no notification to you or the site owner. Don't get me wrong, measures need to be put in place, but this one sounds like it was written by the wrong folks; those whose views on the balance of security and usability were a bit skewed. Perhaps the next go-round will hold a more appealing solution.
We have seen it all before. In some countries, governments tried to prohibit access to websites and they even tried to shut down the internet altogether. It all failed and such strategies are doomed to fail in the future as well. This all demonstrates how little some policymakers understand the Internet. They think that if they lock it behind the bars or put it on probation, it will not cause any trouble. They are trying to fight a new and strong 'virtual' beast with the traditional tools they are familiar with, which will not work.
The rule of thumb is "The more one attempts to restrict people's freedom, the more people will fight against such restrictions and will win in the end". Freedom is a one way ticket; when people get a taste for it, nothing can stop them from holding onto it and fighting for it for their lives, if needed. People will think and work harder to find different ways around such restrictions. Operations will move underground where the governments have almost no control. Such restrictions will generate huge business opportunities for criminals and outlaws, which will make the problem worse than what it is today.
Therefore, the key thing to realise before making any new 'Internet' laws based on restrictions, prohibitions penalties etc. is the fact that a new approach is where the solution lies. This new solution should be based on 'finding the middle ground' that people will gradually accept and act accordingly 'with their freedom of choice'. The change and the acceptance process will be gradual and will not happen overnight. In the meantime, the revenues will be lost and the piracy will continue. That is just how it will have to be. There is no point in trying to swim upstream. There is no magic wand that can turn this reality around in a second, unfortunately
I think today any proposed solution that does not include the phrase 'freedom of choice for people' in it will fail no matter how hard the governments try.
I wonder too who might be caught in this situation even if what they are doing now might not be considered "illegal," until some powerful company or organization complains. It's obvious the web is changing rapidly and that interractions are moving away from static web sites to interractive social media sites with the likely increase in information and content sharing. If I share some legally acquired information with members of my social media site will I trigger a criminal action?
Great post Barb. Just a thought here. As you can imagine, I have been following the SOPA conversation closely, sometimes with gritted teeth. Though I realize the vast need for copyright enforcement on the Web and elsewhere (reference the recent megaupload.com case), the lines are very thin out there on this issue.
There is so much user-generated content, not only on Wikipedia, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc, but on company blogs, forum engines, and public photo sites, that crossing the line even slightly can have major consequences for some of our favorite Web activities. User-generated content is the Web as we know it today. It's what fueled the most recent growth and brought businesses and customers closer together. It even, at times spurred a new age of honesty in business.
I have talked to many in the last few weeks and the Wikipedia example is used most often. However, I don't use it at all. I like Wikipedia, but I also take it at face value. More important to me are what a SOPA-like law would mean for engagement, sharing, etc.
To say SOPA is about "media companies vs internet providers" is sort of a nice way of making it sound like its all about money, and it doesn't really matter which side wins the debate. In reality, SOPA got shut down because regular Americans (like myself and my friends) understand that it's so important to keep government out of the internet.
Look at how China has censored its people via the web. Look at how important the internet was for the people involved in the Arab Spring. How the internet is regulated and managed makes a difference in what people can use it to accomplish. While people have gotten rich off of the internet, the internet isn't about money. It's about global education, communication and connection. The internet is really one of the last truly free places, devoid of pro-business regulations, and I think (hope) the general public will fight to keep it that way.
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