Thursday, January 5, 2012

PIPA and SOPA

video

Note: The video above does not belong to me. No copyright infringement intended. All rights revert back to the owner. Video sourced from http://bit.ly/tRoxxL.

No, PIPA and SOPA are not the names of the people who produced the video. PIPA stands for Protect Intellectual Property Act, while SOPA is the abbreviation for Stop Online Piracy Act. Both are bills pending in the upper and lower houses, respectively, of the United States Congress, designed to protect American intellectual creations by targeting "rogue sites" that commit or facilitate the commission of online piracy. Both bills allow the U.S. Attorney-General to seek a court order against "infringing" sites for the purpose of blocking access to them in the United States through technical means such as DNS filtering (the same method used to regulate site access in China). In addition, internet service providers shall be compelled to cease and desist from providing said sites with the facilities and resources they need to carry out their activities.

If I were a resident of the United States, I would be fuming right now. I simply cannot imagine a world without sites that stream online content, especially those that do so for free. I mean, what constitutes "sites that commit or facilitate the commission of theft of protected content?" If the site streams or provides links to both protected and non-protected content, and the site is blacklisted for streaming or linking to the former, what happens to access to the latter? Can the system be used to stifle free speech and the dissemination of the same? What about its impact on the exchange of information, on innovation? These questions are serious--so serious that people in the U.S. are up in arms about PIPA and SOPA. There must be a better way to protect intellectual creations without sacrificing internet freedom.

--Jan Nicklaus S. Bunag, Entry No. 3

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