On October 26th, 2011 a bill was submitted to the United States House of Representatives that could have a devastating effect on small businesses. H.R. 3261 readable HERE also known as SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act) The goal of the act is to stop online piracy which sounds great. Piracy is bad and no one should do it. The problem is, it is funded by the music industry, the same one that has thrown people in jail for sharing a song. I agree it is wrong, I just think they have a tendency to take it too far and if they took that too far, it is a sure bet they will take this too far.
Most sites that promote piracy are out of the country so ISP’s (Internet Service Providers) will be required to block any and all copyright infringement. This can include things like home videos where there is copyrighted music playing in the background (they have already stopped this several times.) Or wedding videos with copyrighted music playing. Personal takes or spoof videos of copyrighted material if it is too close to the original, this bill will block websites which like the name “web” suggests could make other sites invisible. Big entertainment corporations will require social media sites to police their users which is an un-accomplishable task and will either end in evolution of social media as we know it or in the destruction of social media as we know it. Do we really want the government to have complete control of the internet? Prices for many things we take for granted and require could skyrocket to cover the required cost of this bill such as the cost of our internet. SOPA would blacklist certain websites from search engines making all the information they contain invisible. An excellent way to wipe out potential competitors.
New websites and even existing websites would be too big a risk for investors if laws are passed that could make them blocked. Think of how devastating it would be to your business if social media was gone, video blogging meticulously scrutinized, going to do a review on a product, they say no, your blogging site is gone, or your business site is blocked and no one even knows you are there. This could be catastrophic for those of us whose income depends on the internet being the free connected place of information it currently is. DefendTheInter.net is a simple but powerful site that explains some of SOPA and PIPA’s effects. There are countries who already do this, like China, and it has been oppressive, not only to businesses but to free speech and innovation.
Contact your representatives today. You can find out how HERE.