January 18, 2012, 7:59 pm - James Farrer
If you have paid attention to the news over the last few days or if you have visited any one of the thousands of popular websites today including Google, Wikipedia, and many others, then you are probably at least vaguely familiar with the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the Protect Intellectual Property Act (PIPA). These are similar bills that are being discussed in the House and Senate.
When I first heard about it I didn't think too much of it, but as I have discovered more details I have been very surprised that something with so much potential to limit free speech, innovation, and progress in our country could make it into the legislative process at all, let alone being up for a vote in the next few days. I've read quite a bit on it and am not surprised at all to see so many sites and people protesting this legislation. While am not opposed to protecting copyrighted works, this goes too far.
Here is probably the best analysis I've seen today of what the bills propose and what some of the ramifications for world and Internet are. Please read:
Just the fact that I'm posting this on a website that I own and allow comments on this post would put me at risk of losing my site and a whole lot more (especially since I could be held liable for attorney's and other fees).
As near as I can tell, the technology industry is one of the fastest growing industries right now and I know of a large number of job openings in this industry. These bills, if passed, have significant potential to bypass due process of the law and stifle growth, innovation, and progress essentially reversing the growth trend if not completely destroying a significant part of the technology industry. If you think about it most companies need a website any more just to survive making the effects far more reaching than just the technology industry.
For a government that seems pretty focused on creating jobs in a slow economy this is definitely going the wrong direction.
Just the financial implications of having to censor content on websites the way these bills indicate would put most small technology startups out of business before they even got started.
The impact alone on technology businesses would likely negate any possible benefit that the music and film industry could hope to gain from something like this.
To sum things up: SOPA/PIPA = Bad Idea! Anyone that supports this has definitely lost my vote because they are clearly indicating that they are out of touch with the world and are not willing to think through the very things they are signing their name to.