January 18, 2012

A "grown-up" post, of sorts, where I give you my point of view....which, as usual, has me riding the fence

My thoughts on SOPA/PIPA.....

Obviously, I haven’t read the legislation so I can’t comment on whether or not I believe the language is too broad or not (it should be noted, that on this topic - as on most others - I only know enough to be dangerous.  You've been warned).

But the purpose and intent behind this bill is a noble one.

To stop copyright infringement – mainly targeting illegal downloading of movies and music – which doesn’t seem like a big deal….if you are the recipient of the “free” (illegal) content.  But to the owner of that content, it IS a big deal.

Think about it this way; say you are cruising about on the Internet and come across a website where someone has taken your words – the very ones you slaved over – and is making money off your content…..and you, the author, are not only NOT receiving royalties; you are also not receiving credit….for YOUR work.  Or, you find a photograph that you have taken - posted elsewhere without your permission….again, you aren’t receiving credit or cash for YOUR work.  Now, I ask you, is that fair?  Of course, it isn’t.  

That, my friends, is piracy.  And that is wrong; very wrong.

Obviously, most bloggers have a problem with people taking our work; since most of us have some type of language on our blogs telling people not to steal our stuff.  I should note here, that most of us don't mind if we are linked to another blog, mainly because at least we are getting credit for the words we wrote (not to mention any possible traffic that comes our way), but we DO mind when someone just takes what we wrote as their own.

Am I against censorship?  Yes, of course, I am.  Is this bill headed toward censorship?  I don’t know.  Possibly.  I know that as it stands, if this were to pass, as is, theoretically a piece of mine could be blocked from the internet in the United States if I include a link to say, a YouTube video and that source contains copyrighted content.

Am I against piracy? Yes.  Without a doubt, I am.  And whether it’s an amended version of this bill, or a complete new one, something needs to be done about the rampant piracy on the internet.

Google and all the other tech companies that are complaining have a point – to a degree. There shouldn’t be a total lockdown, but at the same time website owners need to take responsibility for what is on their site.  If they receive a complaint, they need to take it seriously.

Some currently do take it seriously when they are contacted and informed that there is illegal content on their site and remove the offending content immediately.  Others?  Not so much.  Their attitude is, “Well, I can’t control what users do” and some even go so far as to put language to that effect in their Terms of Service.  And that is where the problem really lies. 

If it is your website, you really do need to take responsibility.  Period. 

Piracy is a problem….a big problem – and not just for Hollywood, it is also a problem for companies large and small, it is a problem for photographers, writers (that includes bloggers) and anyone else who works hard to craft their “product.” 

So far, this article at the Huffington Post seems to offer the clearest answer to what this means to the blogger (that is you and me).

The creation of the internet has enabled us to freely share information and communicate with people worldwide.  That shouldn't stop.  But the piracy does.

So somehow, we have to find that middle ground.

Since I've written this, I've read accounts that say these most likely will not pass as our lawmakers have heard us loud and clear....but, dammit, I've slaved over these words - so I'm posting them anyway.

Back to the regularly scheduled and discombobulated posts tomorrow....or maybe the next day.....or maybe next week.....or....oh hell, who knows when (we all know how sporadic I've been lately).

And if the formatting is off kilter - it's all Blogger's fault.  Every time I preview it, the formatting is different.  So Blogger?  Get your stuff together....because seriously?  I like my formatting to work properly....thank you.


  1. Amen sister!!!

    And Blogger needs to get their act together because I am tired of reformatting my posts......

  2. I found a website with one of my ENTIRE posts published on it. Word for word. I was gonna blog about it but I haven't gotten to it yet. Something about life being busy....

  3. Great post - and I agree absolutely! I think most of the outrage over these bills has to do with the fact that they are so broadly worded (and therefore open to interpretation), not over the issue of stopping piracy.

    @Julie - Really?? OMG. How did you find it?

  4. I agree with the piracy and copyright issues. One thing that bothers me, is the fact that anything on the internet is up for grabs, which is the exact reason I put very little out there. Even if I didn't have a blog, there is so much out there, that pertain to me, or my family, THAT I DIDN'T PUT OUT THERE. There's no such thing as privacy anymore.

  5. Timely.

    I just added a link to another site on a similar topic to my links list on my blog. Immagine my surprise when I quickly scanned through the introduction and found practically word for word a post I wrote a couple of years earlier.

    Still fuzzy about what this bill is and if it applies to those of us who are not in America.

  6. Middle ground? There is no middle ground when the only people being caught and prosecuted are the 'you and me' people that use or copy something inadvertently (for their own use).

    The main perpetrators of copyright crimes are now so sophisticated that they can continue 'stealing' regardless of legislation.

    As for blog content ... well, I'm not that smart and entertaining that anyone would want to steal my work ... but I agree with you totally.

    Cut their nuts off!!!

  7. One of my blogging friends had pictures she had taken pulled off her site and used for an advertisement. When she confronted them, they did nothing. Something has to change here. I'm off to read that Huff Post article you linked, Gigi. I'm curious to know how it will affect me.

  8. AMEN for the writing.

    I am proud of your writing.

    but no, it should NOT be stolen.

  9. I don't like the idea of the Internet being censored.

    I like being able to find images on Google. I know the have copyrighted, so I can use them responsibly. I like access to the information.

    I don't need to steal digital media. I have Slacker radio and if I want a song or a movie, I can get it on iTunes.

    So, I suppose my viewpoint is....

    1. don't be a dick and steal stuff
    2. don't censor the Internet