Cyber Sprocket Labs is joining the hundreds of sites that are protesting SOPA and PIPA.
SOPA and PIPA are new legislative acts that are being proposed in the US Senate and Congress that are supposed to “protect American businesses against piracy”. While stopping piracy is a good thing, legislative acts like these are the WRONG WAY to do this. These acts have a number of significant flaws which prevent them from being effective against the majority of people involved in piracy. They DO, however, provide a direct instrument for the largest media & entertainment conglomerates to shut down anyone they see as a threat.
Let me restate that point as it is a very important one:
SOPA and PIPA provide an instrument for media & entertainment companies to shut down ANYONE they deem a threat.
While the basic intent of the legislation started out as a good thing, or at least it was being cast in that light by the special interest groups behind it, the reality is that if these acts are passed they will destroy any and all innovation in the media and entertainment market. Here is one scenario of how these acts would work if they make it through the legislative process.
The SOPA/PIPA Future
I am starting a new high tech media & entertainment company. Let’s call it Musiplicity. This new company provides a innovative new way to engage and entertain consumers while they are at their favorite bar, restaurant, or retail store. It is a great idea and a lot of people are very interested in moving the project forward. The project gets funded & starts generating a lot of buzz in the industry.
Then Sony Entertainment finds out about it. They happen to have a new initiative that also provides business-to-business music & entertainment services. They deem Musiplicity a threat. They submit a complaint of POSSIBLE copyright infringement on the CONTENT provided by Musiplicity. Even though Musiplicity has all the proper licensing agreements in place it takes months to prove that the 11-million songs in the system are all covered. In the meantime SOPA and PIPA have shut down the website, the music servers, the PAYMENT PROCESSORS, the HOSTING COMPANY, the DNS PROVIDERS. Anyone and everyone that supports Musiplicity simply because Sony Entertainment filed a complaint that “these new little guys might be doing something wrong”.
Litigate Your Competition Out Of Business
This is EXACTLY how the current legislation is written. Any company that owns copyrighted material can claim breach of copyright and have any other company shut down for an indefinite period of time. While larger companies like Google, Facebook, and Wikipedia will have deep enough pockets to prove they made the best effort possible to keep copyright materials off their sites, anyone much smaller than that will be literally sued out of business.
This is how the big boys play. They don’t play fair. They play to win & this new legislation gives them exactly the leverage they need to execute an all-out litiguous attack on anyone they deem potential competition.
They did it to one of my prior startup companies and essentially burned through our entire cash reserves by litigating us out of business even though we were 100% legitimate selling legal US goods to US consumers. Our playing by the rules did not stop these companies from playing dirty & killing a company that they felt was a threat. Now they are laying the legal groundwork to do this on a much larger scale with little-to-no ramifications for filing false claims.
We should do everything possible NOW, before SOPA and PIPA get written into law, to prevent the creation of yet another tool that is designed to do nothing more than kill anyone that the “big guys” deem a threat. In the meantime, the piracy will continue and these bills will do nothing to stop it. It is a problem that cannot be addressed via legislation. If legislation worked to stop piracy then DMCA would have stopped the issue many years ago.
You can learn more about SOPA/PIPA and the people involved at these locations:
- Map of Offices of US Senators
- Map of Offices of US Congressmen