Yesterday, my SOPA/PIPA cup overflowed (that sounds a little nasty). It seemed every other tweet I read - every other tumblr post - was a retweet/reblog of some STOP CENSORSHIP (a.k.a. "The sky is falling!! The sky is falling!! The sky is falling!!) message.
Let me be clear. Something needs to be done about online piracy and protection of intellectual property. Yes, we have the DMCA, but that legislation is extremely outdated, offers minimal protection, and is often abused. Owners of intellectual property need additional tools to protect their product.
I intended for this post to be a discussion regarding the value of SOPA and PIPA as additional tools - questioning whether they infringe on the rights of others to protect the rights of intellectual property owners ... but then I had a moment of clarity.
My irritation with what I was reading wasn't rooted in the fact that I overwhelmingly supported SOPA/PIPA (let's be honest - there are some significant concerns regarding the DNS provisions in both), but that what I was seeing was uneducated slacktivism that reeks of entitlement.
Uneducated - Many (most?) of those I talked to believe that SOPA would cause them to lose their right to free speech. Tumblr, twitter and other forms of social media would be CENSORED (the favorite go-to word of those who want you all up in arms about something you know nothing about). The internet would be monitored and they somehow wouldn't be able to get whatever it was they wanted to get.
Slacktivism - Most of what I saw yesterday was nothing more than that feel-good online activism that has little (if any) political or social impact. The retweets, reblogs, join this facebook page method of convincing yourself you are eliciting change when in reality you are doing nothing.
That reeks of Entitlement - There seems to be some underlying fear that what people should pay for (music, movies, etc.) and are currently able to secure via internet piracy for free, might be taken away.
OH.MY.GOD!! You mean SOPA/PIPA might make it more difficult for me to download movies illegally?? That's CENSORSHIP!!
No ... that's holding people accountable for their illegal activities ... activities that infringe upon the livelihood of those who own the intellectual property.
"The Internet Should Be Open And Ours" is the new battle cry.
Everyone wants that First Amendment right.
The problem is that they want it without the responsibility that comes with it.
Do you want SOPA/PIPA to go away? Do your best to use the internet responsibly. Pay for the things you should be paying for. Stop looking to get something for nothing. Support the owners of intellectual property rather than supporting the people who are stealing from them.