While the Stop Online Piracy Act in the House of Representatives is meant to raise awareness about the dangers of pirate web sites — it’s also revealing the collective consciousness (and leverage?) of the social sites and Silicon Valley giants it threatens.
As Google blacks out its logo and major web sites like Wikipedia take a day-long hiatus, maybe Americans will stop and think about their dependency on these Internet sites.
The message from Google if you click on it’s homepage link — advocating against SOPA — is, “End piracy, not liberty.” At the end of the company’s plea, it says, “Too much is at stake…”
This is big. Other than minuscule lawsuits, most of these sites have experienced uninhibited, unregulated, glorious growth for the past decade. Now, like unruly teenagers who don’t feel like obeying road rules, they’re giving the finger to the federal government.
Who needs whom in this scenario?
One of the issues social networks have with the legislation is that it would force them to become monitors or internet police for user behavior. Instead of being a platform for anybody, they’d have to be aware of infringements occurring through their site and stop the problem or be labeled an accessory to theft by the government.
Here’s a summary of some of the effects of SOPA, by the Center for Democracy and Technology.
It’s interesting; as a nation we’ve pretty ferociously protected copyrights, patents and intellectual property in the interests of promoting creative expression, and its incentive, in the past. Now, similar protections online are being labeled as destructive of those aims.