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SOPA and PIPA Are Dead…Or Are They?

It appears that both SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act) and PIPA (Protect Intellectual Property Act) have been taken out of consideration in their current forms. The outrage expressed by web users, including heavyweights like Google, Wikipedia, and others landed on sensitive ears.

What concerns me though, is that the respective bills were not scrapped, just taken out of play for now so that more study can be done. I assure you… this isn’t over by any stretch of the imagination so we must remain vigilant.

Most policy makers are not business oriented; they are career politicians who get their information from aides and lobbyists. Practical, everyday issues escape them simply because they are not involved at that level. Policies therefore, are often skewed to favor special interest groups simply because the groups have complained that certain activities either cause them harm or have the potential to cause them harm. Policy makers don’t hear from the vast majority who are unaffected by these “activities” and so operate with limited information. Thus the broad strokes of law tie our hands, bind our feet and limit free enterprise.

SOPA and PIPA are classic examples of this truth. Five Hollywood studios, four multinational record labels, and six global publishers lobbied Washington to enact legislation aimed at maximizing their profits (Cory Doctorrow, Does this accurately represent the vast majority of businesses and users who depend on the Internet for their profits? I think not.

We must stay in the process to discover new methods of protecting intellectual property and stopping online piracy because broad stroke policies are not the answer. Instead, we must take into consideration the evolution of how knowledge and content are being disseminated and then prepare thoughtful, prudent and fair safeguards that do what they are supposed to do without such catastrophic collateral damage.

Stay engaged!