Imagine a country where the government is able to shut down Web sites at the slightest provocation, where elected representatives invoke fears of "overseas pirates" to defend the interests of domestic industries, and where Internet companies like Google and Yahoo! must cave in to the demands of government censors or risk being shut down. No, we are not talking about China, North Korea, or Iran; we are talking about the United States, where legislators in both the House and Senate are attempting to push through new anti-piracy legislation by year-end that would benefit Hollywood at the expense of Silicon Valley. Piracy is a big problem, and I agree, it must be dealt with. The current bill, as mentioned before, is ineffective because it allows to our government to shut down sites that they think houses pirates, allows officials to illicit fears of foreign pirates in internet users everywhere, and makes internet sites submit to the government or risk being shut down. This is the U.S., not China. We don’t censor our Internet, because we are democratic nation where we have free speech and freedom of expression. That is why the current bills going through the congress must not be passed, and any like it must be voted out. It is my personal conviction and firm belief that the Internet Piracy Act needs to be halted. To support this, I will first go over what this bill is and why it is ineffective. Then we will look at why it is bad. Finally, I will show how uncensored Internet is beneficial. First, lets discuss what this Internet Piracy Act is and why it is ineffective.
What is piracy exactly? According to the book Censorship by Thomson Gale copyright 2005, copyright law states that a creator of a work has the exclusive right to reproduce, distribute, and publicly perform that work Piracy is the act of illegally downloading that work off the Internet without permission of the creator. Another form is file sharing. This is when one person, either personally or over a site like Napster or LimeWire, shares a file with another person. According to the magazine article “New Lines of Attack” by Ben Sheffner in the magazine billboard, in 2010 there were many victories in which music owners have been suing file-sharing sites such as LimeWire and others. It has also suffered some losses though. A class action lawsuit against YouTube was shot down almost immediately. These events sparked the federal government to take action. They seized several domain names, issued a 61-page report about the federal plan for piracy, and many other things. The site www.iowastatedaily.com accessed December 8th, 2011 stated that congress has recently went over two bills and are voting on them. These two bills are called SOPA and PIPA. PIPA, or the Protect IP Act was introduced in the Senate and SOPA, or the Stop Online Piracy Act, was introduce in the House of Representatives last month. The agenda of both bills is to crack down hard on any type of online piracy of work created by companies in the U.S. This is a very good intention, but the problem is, PIPA and SOPA have no carrot incentives, just a massive stick for right-holders to wield. What this means is, under PIPA and SOPA, companies such a the RIAA, or the Recording Industry Association of America, and the MPAA, or Motion Pictures Association of America, can ask the attorney general to take down a site that they allege is infringing their content rights. This means that all U.S. service providers must disable that site’s domain names, or DNS, search engines must remove it from results, payment services must suspend payments, and ad companies must break ties with the site within a week. One example of this is that; say you post a video of you singing a popular song on Facebook, Twitter, or Google plus! You don’t own that song, and you never paid for it, so that site, or specifically that page, must be taken down and you could get in trouble in some way. Now, this doesn’t necessarily that the site will be taken off the internet if it is located outside the U.S., it will just be a lot harder to find and somewhat harder for them to make money. Even if these bills do pass, experts believe that individuals will simply find a way around the restrictions, thus rendering them useless. Tools will allow users to circumvent DNS, users could find the site on non-U.S. search engines, sites will use non-U.S., and probably less trustworthy payment services and ad companies. Another point is that recently, after conducting a study, the Swiss government decided that because they found that consumer spending on video and audio media as a percentage was in fact constant, not declining, they would not alter current laws to make personal downloading of music and movies illegal there. That is why this bill is ineffective and should not be passed, lest the Internet we know and love will be jeopardized. That's not the only study that has pointed out that "pirates" actually on average pay for more legal movies and music than everyone else. That, in essence, is what these bills actually are and why they are ineffective. Now let us go over what damage they will cause.
So, the question we come to is, does this really help U.S. content creators? Once again, the RIAA and MPAA are trying to put the proverbial Internet rabbit back in the hat. According to www.webpronews.com accessed December 7th, 2011, The Center for Democracy and Technology warns that DNS blocking will likely take down legitimate sites, that social networking sites like Twitter and YouTube will be burdened by the new role of “copyright police” for fear of being put out of business, and that innovation will be stifled with the increased risk of doing creative new experiments online. This makes it hard for sites to get started, to make money and to connect people and create. Without that, a critical part of our economy, the money made off Internet, can be damaged. SOPA estimates enforcement costs at about 1$ per American and for that 1$, we’ll get our own version of the “ great firewall of China,” the technological net between China and the rest of the world that the Chinese government uses to keep "bad" content out. That is what it is coming to, the government wants to censor what we see and hear. www.techdirt.com accessed December 7th, 2011 said that Tech companies continue to distance themselves from the Senates and House’s attempts to govern the Internet. It’s not just me against this bill, Mozilla; the makers of Firefox and many other web tools; Facebook, Google, and YouTube are all against this legislation. Mozilla has lead the charge, speaking out in many ways. They fear that if this bill passes, their legitimate companies will be severely weakened, and possibly even shut down. Mozilla’s position, just like the rest of the tech industry that’s spoken out against these bills, is not one that suggests free files for all. Instead, the web application development crew feels both acts threaten the structure of the web with the use of DNS filtering, creating web security risks all in the name of protecting entertainment content. This new legislation, if enacted, would strike at the very core of the way the Internet has been structured. Sharing, openness, and participation are at the core of what the Internet represents. When it comes to a choice between an open Internet and an Internet of walled gardens patrolled by government censors, there is no doubt which is preferable. As one website recent pointed out, the SOPA and PIPA legislations could lead to a decline in Internet. The Internet at its core is an open place were people share ideas and that is what leads to innovation. These are the ways that this bill could damage the Internet we use everyday. Now let us see, how without this bill, the Internet will be better off.
At its core, the Internet is an open environment where people share ideas and that is where the innovation comes from. It provides jobs, and opens our world up to new possibilities. According to www.americancensorship.org accessed December 8th, 2011 stated that there are four main reasons why we are better off without SOPA and PIPA. First off, these bills won’t actually stop infringement. They make it so anyone can put up a red flag on a site, even if that site doesn’t infringe material. Places that do infringe can go unnoticed, and will continue to infringe copyright material. Without this bill companies will be able to use the internet without fear of being shut down or investigated by a competitor or random troll, as could happen if this bill is passed. The second reason is That it endangers all sites by making them liable for users posts This means that, as said before, if someone posts copyright material on a social site like Facebook or YouTube, not only will that person be on hot water, but so will the site. This is another reason that, without these bills, the Internet will be better off. The third reason is that it’s a job killer. Many tech companies employ thousands, like Facebook and YouTube, and if SOPA and PIPA were around when they started they never would have made it. If this bill is passed, thousands who work for these companies could be out of jobs as sites are taken down, or have to let people go due to budget cuts. If these bills pass, then our economy will take a serious hit. The fourth and final reason is that it gives comfort to regimes that censor the Internet. Many communist countries don’t allow “bad content” in via censors. If the U.S. starts to censor the Internet, it will take the pressure off these countries and they will never change their ways. According to www.act.demandprogress.org accessed December 8th, 2011, these bills would ruin so much of what’s best about the Internet. They will give the government and corporations new powers to block Americans’ access to sites that are accused of copyright infringement, force sites like YouTube to go to new lengths to police users’ content, and put people in prison for streaming certain content online.
Imagine if you will, Communist America. Now this may be a little extreme, but it seems to be going to that. If these bills pass, then our rights will be jeopardized and the government will be doing what it is never supposed to, stop the American People from speaking their mind. If these bills pass, then that is exactly what will happen. Today we first went over what the Internet Piracy Act is and why it is ineffective. Then we looked at why it is bad. Finally, I showed how uncensored Internet is beneficial to us all. So the next time you view a video of someone singing a popular song on YouTube, or post a popular song or picture on Facebook, be glad that you are allowed to do so. Because, in the future, you might now be able to.
This is a speech explaining why SOPA and PIPA are terrible legislations but they are gone, but that doesn't mean we are in the clear, ISP companies are negotiating deals with the RIAA and the MPAA to cut down on piracy, but they would really cut down on internet just like SOPA and PIPA
Also legislators like Lamar Smith and John McCain Shouldn't be trying to censor what they don't understand
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