Today you will notice something strange on many of the websites that you frequent. Even the main page of WordPress had censorship images on the top blog posts. Today some websites are going dark protesting two bills before Congress, Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and Protect IP Act (PIPA). These bills are designed to stop the piracy of copyrighted music, movies and television shows. Many in the tech world believe that though piracy needs to be stopped these two bills go too far. Here is a great explanation of the issues by Google.
I was in college during the heyday of Napster and thought it was a little strange that we could get music from the internet without paying for it. At Taylor University we had many discussions about the ethics of Napster and other file sharing services. My sense of justice always kicked into overdrive when fellow Christian students saw no problem with downloading free music illegally. Now almost twelve years later I still see the same lack of ethics in those who are younger. They see no issue with downloading movie or television shows illegally for free.
Hillary and I are currently addicted to the television show White Collar. We could have easily gone to a website and downloaded the shows for free but that went against our beliefs. You pay for the goods and services you consume. So we paid for a season pass on iTunes for the show. We have to wait an extra day to see the show after it airs on television but those who play a role in the show get paid. And it’s legal.
Though PIPA and SOPA go too far in censoring the internet, Congress needs to work with those in the tech world and the entertainment industry to shut down and prosecute those who distribute content illegally.
Here are a couple of videos which explain the potential impact of PIPA and SOPA.