SOPA Clarification

5 01 2012

After my post A Brief History of Piracy and You, renamed From Fantasy to Fansubs: How Pirating Went Mainstream, was picked up by uber gaming website Kotaku.com, people have been complaining that I, and by association Happy Chicken Group, support the Stop Online Piracy Act, or SOPA.

The quote that people are pulling this from reads: “People gnash their teeth and moan about the SOPA legislation that is snaking its way through the American Congress, but we have no one to blame for this but ourselves.”

Let me make myself very clear: this is not an endorsement of SOPA.

What I believe, is that SOPA is a knee-jerk over reaction to the proliferation of digital media being shared online illegally (meaning without their consent).  I believe that the industry feels that it has given consumers a fair chance to do the right thing, and now they’re aiming to pull the rug out from underneath everyone in a last ditch effort to control licensing and distribution rights.  I also believe that the average internet user bares some responsibility for this reaction.  Who among us has not watched a music video or movie clip that someone posted on YouTube, downloaded a favorite long lost song, or played a mod of a popular video game?  These seem like very innocent, normal, everyday things to do; but little bits add up to a big picture that the average consumer doesn’t see.  Then again, the average consumer doesn’t see a distinction between watching a clip of Seinfeld on YouTube and borrowing a copy of Seinfeld Season 14 from their friend.  And you know what?  Media companies shouldn’t have a problem with that.  If anything, clips from TV shows, movies, video games, and song snippets all serve as free advertising.

The internet has changed the face of entertainment so rapidly that companies are scrambling to keep up.  It’s easy to see how they’ve fallen behind.  Laws, too, are outdated and need to be re-examined and in some cases rewritten entirely.  A new digital age is truly upon us, and it’s going to take a delicate balancing act to level out the rights of content providers, and the rights of consumers.

One last thing.  In a representative government, lawmakers are suppose to work for the people.  If you have a problem with SOPA, if you think you have a better solution, don’t just spout off on the internet.  Call your lawmakers, write letters- do what needs to be done and take action.  Every American has the right to be involved in the legislative process.  If the electorate (you) is not engaged in the process, then the process will run them over.  It’s everyone’s responsibility to make sure the right thing happens, both media companies and consumers.

GET IN TOUCH WITH YOUR ELECTED OFFICIAL HERE


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