Wednesday, January 25, 2012


This is in connection with my last blog where I questioned the ghost protocols of online commerce and the lack of clear rules governing the Internet.

It looks like we’re seeing movement on various fronts in this regard.

First, the US Congress’ SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act) and PIPA (Protect IP Act) were put on hold. The bills sought to end online piracy by restricting access and payment of those sites which purportedly violate intellectual property rights (read: torrents, streaming movies, downloading music, software etc.)

Both bills, which were filed last year, used to enjoy bipartisan support and were quietly debated in both houses. They were about to be voted on when many of the legislations' backers ‘changed their minds’ amidst public outcry, online and offline.

To my delight, last January 18, information (boring) giant Wikipedia and Reddit went on blackouts to protest the bills. If passed, they said the bills would strike at the very heart of the free and open Internet. Fever pitch protesters took to the streets of New York, San Francisco, Seattle and Washington. Google gathered 7 million anti-SOPA and PIPA through a link on their homepage. Facebook founder, Mark Zuckerberg, lashed against SOPA and PIPA and described them as ‘poorly thought out’.

What we have is a long due clash of titans of the old guard and the values of a generation who grew up streaming everything online. For free!

The shelving of SOPA and PIPA may have hurt their legislative viability, but it doesn’t mean the warriors of IP rights would take things sitting down. Last Friday, authorities arrested ‘Kim Dotcom’ the founder of Megaupload and shut down his website. Megaupload is a file-sharing site that is said to have cost copyright holders $620 million in lost revenues due to pirated material. A few days ago, Kim was denied bail.

(Considering the lack of public outcry on this arrest, maybe it would be better for authorities to invoke existing laws and run after individual founders instead of crafting new and grand legislation susceptible to the ‘Occupy Wallstreet’ crowd.)

In a new twist to the series, there has been buzz as of late that another website is set to replace the defunct Megaupload. Registered in Russian, AnonyUpload, is set to debut Friday and authorities are interested how it will catch on.

Let’s see what will happen next. Things could only be starting to heat up. This high drama and action could rival my afternoon Coronavelas.

Diana Lutgarda P. Bonilla, Entry #6

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