As we enter 2012, one of the more notable issues facing the internet is the possible passage of SOPA. Just to recap from my earlier blog article on this subject, House Resolution 3261, also known as the “Stop Online Piracy Act” as written, would give the U.S. Department of Justice broad powers to block access to websites that are alleged to contain someone else’s copyrighted material. The driving force behind the bill is the entertainment industry, whose profit margins are continuously being impacted negatively by copyright infringement. Several other businesses and interests have also climbed on the SOPA bandwagon, including most of the major cable television and broadband internet companies. Even makeup companies, such as L’Oréal, Estée Lauder and Revlon are supporting SOPA. (What a tube of mascara has to do with online piracy, I have absolutely no effing idea!)
Just before Christmas, internet registrar GoDaddy publicly withdrew its support of SOPA, after a significant boycott campaign was mounted against them. Since then, other companies have followed suit, including Nintendo, Electronic Arts and Sony Electronics. Hold on a second though, my fine young readers. According to the updated list of companies supporting H.R. 3261, Sony’s three music industry brands remain among those listed. Also listed is the MPAA, of which Sony is a member.(1) (2) (3)
But let’s not stop there. Instead, we’ll look a bit harder and dig a bit deeper into the duplicity behind SOPA, on the part of some corporations. Take Microsoft for instance. Microsoft appears on the list of companies opposed to SOPA, while also being a member of the Entertainment Software Association, which supports the bill. The three Sony entities that withdrew their support are also ESA members. So while not supporting the bill individually, these companies are still supporting it through their ties to the ESA. (Support by proxy.)(3) (4)
Now, I don’t want to give the appearance of a vendor at the local carniceria or super mercado, constantly calling out “Sopa! Sopa!” while hocking my wares, but this is serious business, folks. Exactly how many of us who enjoy Facebook, YouTube, Wikipedia and Imgur on a daily basis, have taken the time to write our congressional representatives, and let them know that we don’t want this bowl of SOPA forced down our collective throats? The reasons I ask this are because 1., I have and 2., if SOPA passes, we can kiss YouTube goodbye virtually overnight. If you love and appreciate having these sites out here in cyberspace to enjoy, then the best thing that you can do to repay people like Mark Zuckerberg, Steve Chen, Jimbo Wales and Alan Schaaf is to make your voices heard. If anyone’s going to stop SOPA in its tracks, it will have to be us…the voters. It will have to be we, the people.