This post is by Jyoti Rathi of Style Delights
If you don’t live under a rock, (or live there with an internet connection), you must have heard of SOPA and PIPA bills and why major tech companies, blogs and websites are opposing it. And if you think SOPA and PIPA affect only the “big businesses”, you are in for a shock. If you are a blogger, you too will be affected by it. To understand how, lets first understand what SOPA and PIPA are –
SOPA - Stop Online Piracy Act was proposed by a bipartisan group in congress. The purpose of the bill is to fight online piracy, counterfeit goods and infringement of copyrighted intellectual property. The bill, if made the law, will allow US Department of Justice to take legal actions against the websites/blogs/search engines accused of enabling or facilitating copyright infringement. The government could ask advertisers to stop doing business with such sites and even stop payment of any pending business, bar search engines from linking to such sites and order internet service providers to block access to such sites.
PIPA - Protect IP Act giving the US government and copyright holders additional tools to curb access to websites dedicated to infringing or counterfeit goods.The bill defines infringement as distribution of illegal copies, counterfeit goods, or anti-digital rights management technology. According to PIPA infringement exists if “facts or circumstances suggest that a site is used, primarily as a means for engaging in, enabling, or facilitating the activities described”.
Understand how SOPA/PIPA can (and will, if passed as law) affect you –
- If you reblog stuff or share images (which we all do from time to time), you could be accused of copyright infringement even if you link back to the site you got the content from Even if the site you got your content from is using the material without permission. (See IFB’s post on the types of photos you can use.)
- If you make a video of makeup tutorial or any DIY project and use a song/music you thought would go well with the video, you could be accused of copyright infringement. (See CreativeCommons.org’s music communities)
- If you posted a picture/logo/brand image for the purpose of educating your readers about it, you could be accused of copyright infringement. (See IFB’s post about Fair Use)
- The content sharing could be limited, severely restricted or be extinct – Youtube, Facebook, Twitter could be targeted as “the websites where online piracy or infringement of intellectual property is taking place’!
The opponents of these bills (those include, Google, Twitter, Apple, Intel, Microsoft, Adobe and many more big tech companies) say that SOPA and PIPA will curb the innovation, damage the freedom of speech, kill the businesses even if they are not guilty. They predict that SOPA/PIPA will enable internet censorship and put a stop on sharing of great ideas.
As much as I support anti-piracy efforts and believe that copyright materials should be used legally and according to owner’s wishes, I think SOPA and PIPA take law enforcement to the extreme.
- The Senate will begin voting on January 24th. Call/write your state Senators, Congressmen/women and ask them not to pass these bills
- Sign the online petitions like this one
- Post about these bills on your blogs and inform your readers
- And ALWAYS give credit to the source of the materials used on your blogs. Use images from websites that offer free pictures or you can buy images for a really nominal fee. (Getty Images have special packages for bloggers to use their great quality images). Link back to the original content generator (as much as you can) and never buy counterfeit goods!