In 15 days the United States Congress will vote on the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and Preventing Real Online Threats to Economic Creativity and Theft of Intellectual Property Act (PROTECT-IP). Both are a threat to anyone who makes a living on the Internet. I’ve added my name to I Work for the Internet and contacted my congressman to voice my concerns about this dangerous legislation. I’ve also written an article outlining the ways in which SOPA and PROTECT-IP will severely limit the future of the Internet.
My work as a social business strategist and writer is threatened, as well as a my role as a consumer, user and content curator. Businesses and professionals alike who work to create, develop, inspire and share content online should be educating themselves and taking a stand against SOPA, not just because it’s censorship, but because it goes against everything for which we stand as creatives and as global citizens.
The Internet as we know it, the innovation technology and the behaviors it has inspired are at risk. The entertainment industry’s inability to innovate has resulted in a legislation that aims to punish those who have. As more and more of us go online to watch movies, television and create alternative forms of media, fewer of us are purchasing our entertainment through conventional methods. How we work, live, and consume haved changed because of new technologies. Conventional methods of entertainment no longer meet our needs. SOPA isn’t about trying to prevent us from pirating video, it’s about threatening us to do things the conventional way. It’s much easier for the entertainment industry to enact legislation than it is for them to innovate — which should be the first indication that SOPA is no friend of ours.
It reminds me of those who questioned the legitimacy or relevance of social media or other empowered technologies. Many companies and schools, alike tried to ban them, which just resulted in more risk and liability. By accepting innovation, many have been able leverage them to improve their own business processes and workflows. Should SOPA fail (which I hope it does), I hope that the entertainment industry is behooved to collaborate with innovation technologists so we can come to an acceptable and reasonable agreement that protects our online freedoms and the content we create from being compromised.