Monday, February 6, 2012

Chronicles of the Anonymous: The SOPA episode III

Why come up with a new bill-aren’t current U.S. laws on copyright enough?

Anyone who has heard of Napster knows that major companies have, in the past, exerted major efforts to curb online piracy. However, it should be remembered that one of the reasons for their success in taking down Napster was that it was primarily US based – with its founders being Americans (Shawn Fanning, John Fanning, and Sean Parker), the Feds had a relatively easier time taking them down.

Let’s contrast this with Pirate bay, considered one of the most, if not the most popular sharing website today. It was founded by Swedish nationals Gottfrid Svartholm and Fredrik Neij; and is primarily based in Sweden. Despite efforts by Swedish authorities to shut down the site in past years – eventually convicting the founders of infringement- the site is still resilient. To say that it is alive would be a understatement as it is still packed with more than 3.5 million torrent files and more than 5 million users; a far cry from the current status of Napster.

U.S. companies have, thus, found it extremely difficult to take action against companies like piratebay, which are located overseas.

The SOPA was the attempt to provide a solution to this by giving power to content creators (record companies etc) to sever the main life line of these torrent sites-the search engine. To quote “ [t]he studio could demand that Google remove that site from its search results, that PayPal no longer accept payments to or from that site, that ad services pull all ads and finances from it, and—most dangerously—that the site's ISP prevent people from even going there.”

The genius behind SOPA (and the biggest cause of its infamy) is the idea of indirectly targeting the file sharing sites (rogue sites based overseas that are harder to reach) through the search engines and pay sites (such as Master, PayPal, Google and Yahoo which are mostly based in the U.S. and are easier to access).

To be continued…

Nathan J. Marasigan Entry No. 8

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