Over recent days I have been consuming content about SOPA and been aware of many sites that blacked out in protest of SOPA on January 18th.
In principle I can see that something similar (but much better and clearly thought out) is needed to prevent genuine damage from copyright infringement.
Just to make it clear I am not in support of SOPA but there is an industrial size problem with persistent large scale copyright infringers who basically have a “screw you” attitude to content owners – You know who you are!
The historic problem is mass sharing of copyrighted content and I personally feel that it would be better to come up with a system of identifying what actually is a crime before pushing drastic and damaging legislation through.
For example, emailing your sister a copy of an mp3 you have bought from a music download store is hardly the crime of the century, whereas making the same mp3 available to a potential global audience via a bit torrent site is clearly a crime and will result in large losses to the content owner.
Obviously if the content owner is happy with this then it is fine, however, torrent websites allow large scale sharing of copyrighted material without the owners consent.
The philosophy of these sites is that everything should be free. They don’t seem to realise that big budget films require big budgets to be made. If this was not a profitable business there would be no big budget and no film. Whilst some things can be free on the web, many can not.
On the other hand you have the bureaucrats that seem to have little or no connection to the real world of technology and online activity. From what I have seen, they think the answer is to just introduce drastic layers of vague and ambiguous law that if enforced could be detrimental to the internet but still not stop pirates.
I say, create policy that clearly identify the criminals then create policy that tackles those people. Also, do this in conjunction with people who truly understand the internet.
I doubt very much that the US government will take notice of my view, but there it is. Police the criminals, not the internet!