The student news site of Diablo Valley College.

The Inquirer

The student news site of Diablo Valley College.

The Inquirer

The student news site of Diablo Valley College.

The Inquirer

Let them share Drake ©

Julius Rea (The Inquirer)

If you already hated Net Neutrality, the proposal to allow Internet providers to charge you more to visit certain websites, brace yourselves.

You, and every blogger, journalist, student and major website, might forever have the way you surf the web altered by the United States Congress soon.

As the Stop Online Piracy Act, or SOPA, has been under discussion over the past month, Internet giants like Facebook and Google have expressed anger over the act and “are threatening to leave the U.S. Chamber of Commerce over a bill that would make Web companies liable for pirated content that appears on their sites,” according to a Washington Post article.

The House of Representatives started discussing the bill Nov. 16.

The House website says that SOPA, which was first introduced by Rep. Lamar Smith, R-Texas on Oct. 26, demonstrates legislative efforts to protect intellectual property, to conserve the Internet and entertainment job markets and to reduce counterfeiting and piracy.

The bill will also allow the FBI to accuse foreign websites that steal intellectual property created by U.S. firms. It also could hold third parties responsible for piracy and counterfeiting on other sites.

Some people, including leaders and supporters of the music industry, are in favor of SOPA.

“The industry doesn’t want people stealing its material. Fair enough,” Business Insider writer Matt Rosoff said.

Michael O’Leary, executive vice president for government affairs at the Motion Picture Association of America, spoke up for the people working in the entertainment industry.

He said, “Over 2 million Americans across all 50 states earn a living and support their families in jobs connected to the making of motion pictures and television shows. They deserve better than to see their work stolen out from under them by criminals out to make a profit.”

In fact, “global music piracy causes $12.5 billion of economic losses every year, 71,060 U.S. jobs lost, a loss of $2.7 billion in workers’ earnings, and a loss of $422 million in tax revenues,” according to a 2007 Institute for Policy Innovation study.

Since the creation of file sharing websites, we have seen the rise, and partial fall, of piracy.

After Napster’s conception in 1999, the company “began its death spiral on March 6, 2001, when it began complying with a Federal court order to block the transfer of copyrighted material over its peer-to-peer network,” according to an article on the History Channel website.

With the advancement of the Internet over the past 15 years, the tie between piracy and the World Wide Web has been evident.

Even LimeWire, a file-sharing website that the U.S. government seized in 2010, has been replaced by its cousin, FrostWire.

At the same time, SOPA is addressing only one observed problem with the Web.

I don’t have to spell out why the Internet is good: easily accessible information, global connectedness, streamlined educational material and funny videos of cats either playing instruments or falling off of furniture. 

Whether we are talking about the rise of the Internet or the rise of the telephone, every new technology or communication medium is a double-edged sword.

The Internet’s positive effect on society is monumental and somewhat unspeakable.

If the bill passes, it will restrain the positive aspects of the Internet without examining the full negative effect.

If SOPA passes, it will stifle citizen and multimedia journalism, the ability to source websites and make technological innovations in journalism.

One of the websites that will be hit the largest by SOPA is Tumblr, a “microblogging” website based on sharing ideas through artistic expression and free speech. Some users, who use images and video of different aspects of pop culture to create their own artistic statements, are participating in a movement to discourage the bill.

This website is useful for bloggers; however, it’s more important to students who need a forum to share and post media- and entertainment-related ideas. 

Furthermore, SOPA will negatively influence free speech. An E-week article said the bill is a “threat to free speech and Internet commerce because it lowers the barriers on who can be considered in violation of the law.”

Student journalists, in particular, would be out of luck. 

I took an Introduction to Mass Communication class in London my first semester of college.

Throughout learning basic interpersonal communication theory and the history of mass media, I remember Dr. Anna Feigenbaum telling me that because we don’t know how far the Internet can go, we cannot fully access its implications.

If we don’t know the extent of the Internet, how can we put limitations on it? Simple answer: we can’t. And, believe it or not, “we” includes legislators.

Leave a Comment
About the Contributor
Julius Rea
Julius Rea, Editor-in-chief
Editor-in-chief, spring and fall 2011. Graphics editor, fall 2010.

Comments (0)

By commenting, you give The Inquirer permission to quote, reprint or edit your words. Comments should be brief, have a positive or constructive tone, and stay on topic. If the commenter wants to bring something to The Inquirer’s attention, it should be relevant to the DVC community. Posts can politely disagree with The Inquirer or other commenters. Comments should not use abusive, threatening, offensive or vulgar language. They should not be personal attacks or celebrations of other people’s tragedies. They should not overtly or covertly contain commercial advertising. And they should not disrupt the forum. Editors may warn commenters or delete comments that violate this policy. Repeated violations may lead to a commenter being blocked. Public comments should not be anonymous or come from obviously fictitious accounts. To privately or anonymously bring something to the editors’ attention, contact them.
All The Inquirer Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Activate Search
Let them share Drake ©