By: Danzig Decsy
If you’re an avid internet user, chances are you have heard about SOPA, or the Stop Online Piracy Act currently being considered in Congress. The series of documents lists possible laws that would “crackdown” on internet piracy and make any form of copyright infringement, big or small, a federal offense. If this act is passed, it will be the first time in history that the internet will be censored on a national scale.
Personally, I believe that SOPA, although ethical, is one of the biggest, if not the biggest, attempts to invade and intrude on American piracy in my lifetime. Everyone loves original content, but so many sites are filled with so much copied content that it’s hard not to think that SOPA is simply a waste of time and energy and that there’s no possible way that the internet could be “cleaned up” so dramatically. Because of this, it seems that most people have chosen to ignore the fact that this bill even exists. But if there’s one thing that I’ve learned about the government, it’s that you can never just assume that “they won’t do it.” People aren’t taking into consideration the possible severity of this situation and don’t realize the drastic changes that they will have to go through if the act is passed, which is entirely possible.
Think about the potential future if SOPA were to be passed by Congress. Imagine you’re a parent with a young child who has been experimenting with the default video editing software on the family computer. After a certain length of time, the child becomes familiar with the program and begins working on a simple montage of family footage with a copyrighted song behind it all. More than likely, this child is unaware and oblivious to things like copyright laws or how the world actually works essentially, and posts the finished project on YouTube or another video hosting web site. Your child has now committed a crime on a federal level. But it’s not as if the prepubescent scoundrel was trying to commit a crime with the intention of trying to beat the system. How are people supposed to handle something like that?
It’s almost as if SOPA, if it were to be passed, could cause the internet to become something comparable to alcohol or cigarettes. Children would probably have to wait until a certain age where they will be considered responsible enough to access the internet, which everyone should have a right to. The web is the largest archive of information in the world. No one owns the internet and no one should have the power to control something so powerful. SOPA could diminish the biggest part of modern American society immensely, which no one should want. Everyone with access to the web has broken a copyright law, whether intentionally or not. So if SOPA is passed, then I suppose that just about everyone in theU.S.could be considered a criminal on a federal level.