SOPA & PIPA – Just A Healthy Curbing of Social Media’s Sense of Entitlement?
(Written by Matthew Saville; the opinions you are about to read are not an official statement nor do they reflect the beliefs of this website.Thanks for reading!)
Okay so if you don’t know what SOPA and PIPA are, well, you basically have not been on the internet *AT ALL* in the past few weeks.But CLICK HERE to read some of the “anti-SOPA” propaganda if you need to.
I’ll cut right to the point:Yes, I’m thrilled that I can just go on Youtube whenever I want to hunt downÂ that random Paul Simon song about Nikon cameras, orÂ watch awesome, tear-jerking clips of U2 concerts.Â (For the thousandth time…) However, THAT DOESN’T MEAN IT’S LEGAL!Yes, I enjoy the freedom with which I can blog random tidbits and photos, even if I have no idea who originally created it…
Again, just because everything on the internet is free and we’re all accustomed to it, that DOES NOT MAKE IT LEGAL.In a way, I think that “social media” has given the entire internet world a huge sense of entitlement.And why not?We already use Google’s innumerable services for FREE.Facebook is FREE, Twitter is FREE, and blogging is mostly FREE.So naturally, everyone just thinks that if it’s all free, what’s wrong with sharing something cool / funny / educational?Even if it’s “kinda” copyrighted?
Well, I’m here to say that as a creative person, (and admittedly,reclusive & anti-social) …I would be just fine if 90% of the internet were just “erased” due to copyright violations.Sure, I’d cry a little bit at first.I’d have to start from scratch on my blogging and Facebook wall.But you know what?I’d also get off the computer, *gasp* and spend a lot more time in real life!Heaven forbid I actually go out for a walk, maybe to a library or to an art gallery, or a concert, …and enjoy other people’s creativity the old-fashioned way, without “harmlessly” infringing a copyright.
Now, let me clarify:THIS DOES NOT MEAN I SUPPORT the SOPA or PIPA in Congress.I’ve tried to read up on them, but all the support / petition sites seem strangely vague about the real facts; it seems like more propaganda, scare tactics, and bandwagon effects than serious discussion of the exact wording of the bills.Again I am NOT trying to diminish the true urgency of what could happen if those bills passed, I’m just saying that I haven’t been able to gather enough hard facts yet to form an official, vote-casting opinion.This post here is just a thought I had, and hopefully it will get you thinking too.
I do understand that many, many businesses out there are based ENTIRELY on social media, and in a worst case scenario these businesses / markets could disappear overnight.Millions of dollars could stop dead in their tracks, people could lose their jobs, etc. etc.However, once again, in my opinion it just comes down to whether or not what is happening in social media is LEGAL.If you’ve built a business on a foundation that is even lightly sprinkled with the illegal sharing of music or images, or any other INTELLECTUALÂ PROPERTY, well, …didn’t you kinda see this coming?I’m sure you KNEW, in the back of your head.
Anyways, all I want to say is that I’m in favor of respecting the rights of someone who creates something.Just because the internet is FREE and EASY, doesn’t make it LEGAL.If you go and “share” a random image from my landscape portfolio, (in order to drive traffic to your website that pays you profits from ads or affiliates) …then you’re breaking the law a tiny little bit.You might have only profited a mere $0.05 by circulating my creative work, but you’re still breaking the law.
The only question is, how far should we bend the law, where do we draw the line?Is this “Big Brother” cracking down on our freedom of speech and other unalienable rights?Or isÂ this just a healthy curbing of social media’s out-of-control sense of entitlement and blatant disrespect for copyright?So far, I’m not sure at all.
Your thoughts, opinions, and additional information (NO cliche propaganda though, please) are very, very welcome!I am certain that there is much for me to learn on this subject, and I fully expect to gain a completely different perspective by the time this is all over.
(My #1 most copyright-infringed image)
Nikon D70, Nikon 17-35Â - Death Valley, 2005