I will start by saying this is not meant to be a Political conversation. Alas, it will probably end up being one. As someone whose second major was Politics and who was not so long ago, a potential law student, all this SOPA talk did interest me. I am fully aware that the law is not politics but it seems that in many ways, they go hand in hand, especially in our country. With respect to the fact that I am a non-citizen, I live here, I pay taxes here, I am still governed by the law and politics here, and in many ways I uphold many traditional American values (and I might add, probably more than some “actual” Americans do).
Upon reading the full text of the bill, and articles titled “Why SOPA is Dangerous,” and “Why we need a law against online piracy,” I also watched a short video titled What is SOPA and PIPA and why youtube is Important. I decided that SOPA more than anything else, annoyed me and here’s three reasons why:
1.The Internet is the Wild Wild West or so it’s been called, so there is an argument to be made that maybe it does need regulation. But, it is precisely for this reason that I think if there is to be any regulation, it has to be minor, unlike the intent of the bill; and it has to mostly serve for the protection of intellectual property. Of course, this is difficult to do and in trying to enforce intellectual property regulations, the freedom that the internet gives may be breached. I think the internet is really the only source of true expression that many people have. Yes, we say we live in a democracy and we have the First Amendment, but it seems to me the only expression that people are not afraid of, (offline anyway) are the things that are popular in the mainstream or advocated by the media and popular culture. Perhaps the wild wild west that is the internet needs regulation but in doing so, would we sacrifice a greater good for a lesser one? What do you think?
2. The Practicality of the Bill. It was quite nerdy of me to read the bill but I am a legal junkie. Still, I admittedly didn’t understand everything the bill was trying to communicate, and that is exactly the point. It’s not that I didn’t understand the language even though some of it is not my every-day jargon, and I do not have a law degree (yet 😉 ), but I have grown up with the internet, I currently work in online marketing and social media, and these are things I use every day! And if I, as an educated person who grew up with the internet, and works in the field, cannot possibly understand the difference between right and wrong if SOPA were to be enacted as it was, how is an 11-year old who uses this mostly for fun, supposed to understand these differences? Essentially, as they were written, SOPA and PIPA appeared to turn us all into criminals or maybe I’m missing something. Am I missing something?
3. Does this really matter right now? This was my first reaction to the bill and it is by far the most annoying thing I found about all the SOPA talk, despite my interest. As I said on my facebook two days ago, “So instead of worrying about the unemployment rate, the increasing number of people below the poverty line, and the depleting education system…the gov’t is worried about the internet?”I don’t think this needs any further explanation.
In the end, I am glad that for now, it has been withdrawn from Congress. I think those who use the internet most, where we might disagree in our political stances, our belief systems, the way we view people, things and the world, it was kind of amazing to see many of us unite on something.