With the rise of internet usage and dependency, information has been readily available to the mass public with just a press of a button. This presents major issues because now, what people would normally have to pay for, are available to them for free online, Due to this, internet piracy has been a huge problem in the recent years. Internet piracy means the illegal distribution of copyrighted materials on the World Wide Web; this practice hurts companies and businesses. With lawmakers and lobbyist fighting against this problem, the senate proposes a bill named Stop Online Piracy Act, commonly known as SOPAt This bill is design to protect intellectual property and copyrighted materials from illegal distribution on the internet, While the act sounds profound and noble on paper, SOPA will actually limit the vast information the internet provides the public, damage the economy, hurts both consumers and businesses, and it will be extremely hard to enforce.
The internet provides a vast amount of information to anyone who can access it, With SOPA, it will vastly limit such information SOFA will allow the government to hunt down any website that post or links to protected materials without permission (Bayrasli, Elmira), Even if a website does not post copyrights materials, if they just link to it, they will also get in trouble with the government, Search engine websites such as Google will definitely suffer because their main purpose is to provide links to the users.
With SOPA, most of the links will be shut down, leaving Google with an extremely small database to work with, For example, anyone searching to find articles about the pros and cons of a topic will face severely limited search results, This limits the amount of information they can take in, It undermines their quest to understand an issue deeper and expanse their knowledge.
One can argue for the quest for knowledge before the invention of computers and internet. Before the invention of the World Wide Web, people use books, newspaper, magazine, and journals to research their subjects and gain more knowledge about it.
While it is true that limiting internet does not limit the vast amount of information available, it does limit the accessibility of it, said Macaulay Scott of Filmmaker Magazine, According to Macaulay, people who have internet access will have an extremely hard time adapting to the new law, especially the children who grew up with internet. It makes accessing information that much harder for people who have already know the power ofjust searching for a phrase on popular search engines and receiving millions of results With SOPA, they would still have access to such information, but it will take plenty more effort, For people who did not grow up with computers, this change will be easy to adapt to, bttt for the younger generation, it will harm them, Beyond limiting the vast information, SOFA will also hurt the economy The bill will force many website to shut down, website such as Reddit, Tumblr, Twitter, and Etsy, because they operate by using content from other sources.
This would hurt the economy because these websites and others “have been a source of much-needed job creation, growth, and capital flows” and these revenues have “bolsters an otherwise stagnant economy” said Elmira Bayrasli, writer for Forbes Magazine. These companies and many other small, tech start up companies, use the internet for their business; SOPA would destroy any chances of these companies moving pass the start up stage. People would be force out ofjobs if their companies are force to shut down; unemployment will rise The tax and the revenues these companies acquire from operation will disappear, no longer contributing to an already failing economy, Beside the economy, both consumer and businesses will also suffer from SOPAi With the rise of internet users and usage, companies advertise their products through the web. Their advertisement shows up on other websites and those websites usages that money to keep their own website operating, Businesses would lose a mean of advertisement, limiting their reach to
their possible consumers. Not only that, but companies will have to amass massive amount of resources to monitor their own website to make sure all their content and links are not related to copyrighted materials (Pocock, Chris). This hurts their revenues and weakens the company because they would focus more on making sure they abide by the law rather than focusing on increasing their business, products, and consumers output. In alignment with business suffering, consumers will also suffer. They would have to spend mass amounts of money to get the products they want (Herbert). In a harsh economy, people would be less likely to spend money. They rather save the money for necessities rather than spending it on entertainments Contrasting that, companies do lose revenues if consumers can get their products for free online. One commonly use example is the entertainment industry Many argue that entertainers are losing money from internet piracy. For singers, instead of people buying their songs, people would illegally download it from the internet.
For billboard topping artists, this is not so much of a problem but for others unknown, staning up, and indie artists, they lose a huge chance of being financially successful. This is true to a certain extent. For big name artists, most of their revenues come from tours and guest show appearances (filmmakermagazinecom), so losing money from illegal downloading or distribution of their music won’t harm them. On the other hand, for more unknown artists, the internet allows their name to be heard, If one person likes the song, they can post it on video hosting website such as YouTube which will then gain more viewers. This gives the unknown artist a better chance at success because their song will reach a wider range of audience. In addition, there are already measures and bill passed to remove their copyrighted material from websites. An act call the Digital Millennium Copyright Act “allows corporation to request offending videos, music and
other violating media be taken from host sites (Pocock, Chris)”, yet, these corporations are still pushing to for Congress to pass SOFA. Furthermore, it will be extremely hard for the government to enforce the law and implement the changes. This is not an international law; therefore, websites operating outside of the United States do not have to comply with SOPAI This means that copyrighted materials taken down form host websites in the nation will still be available on websites base and operating in a different nation (Crabtree, Travis) With the growth of technology, so comes the growth of bypassing such laws. For example, at grade school, the school blocks out websites so student won‘t go on it when they should be doing something else, but the student will simply go on a proxy website to bypass the block. Even if the government forces internet provider to block out international website hosting copyrighted materials, people will simply use a proxy website to bypass the obstacles.
In the end, they will still be able to access the materials even with the law in place In the end, SOPA is a fail measure to protect intellectual copyrighted materials The act has too many flaws for it to work as it was design to. The government would not have the means to implement SOPA, not on the international scale at least In an already weaken economy, instead of spending money protecting copyrighted materials, it should be spend creating job, something that SOPA would actually destroyt With SOPA, many internet base companies would have to shut out, forcing people to lose their job, The market would be flooded with more unemployment, and the government would have to provide these people unemployment benefits Overall, companies and consumers will lose rather than win under the legislation, Even if SOPA fail to pass congress, the idea and the bill are still there, and one day, it will be brought up again.