SOPA PIPA Soap Opera

It may not be common knowledge over here but the US government is preparing a law to curb piracy of intellectual property in a way that could have far reaching consequences for people and businesses in and outside the US. While there is hardly any doubt that defending intellectual property is a good thing, the proposed law could seriously slow down the igniting force of the world wide web.

SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act) and PIPA (Preventing Real Online Threats to Economic Creativity and Theft of Intellectual Property Act of 2011) makes advertising networks, ISP’s, search engines and payment facilitators responsible for copyright infringement. Complaints about IP breaches can be handled by just getting a court order without any hearings. Going to court and fight the court order decision can only be done after the fact. The idea behind the law is that since it is too difficult to get directly to the violators, access should be denied by making the main stakeholders of the web responsible for cutting them off.

The consequences of these bills could potentially harm privacy , create censorship, internet security, fair competition, limit free trade and hinder web driven innovation and new business models. Nevertheless this is regarded as collateral damage for upholding respect for intellectual property.

The Internet popularity has revolutionized business and innovation. Ironically the negative side effects of this new ruling could  be much larger than the benefits gained. Or, as Neelie Smit tweeted : “Speeding is illegal too: but you don’t put speed bumps on the motorway”. It certainly doesn’t bode well for the emerging cloud paradigm and it also shows that governments are out of touch with reality.

At the METISfiles we think that putting up more and more roadblocks to regulate the internet will ultimately backfire and significantly slow down innovation. Not a good idea.

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About Marcel Warmerdam