Piracy and the future of the internet

August 17, 2011 § 3 Comments

With piracy laws continuously developing and expanding, is it possible that YouTube could soon be shut down? Every minute, twenty nine hours of video is uploaded YouTube. Some believe that if you can’t police it, then it should be shut down. Personally, I would rather stream twenty nine hours of video a minute from hundreds of millions of sources than five sources that make the governmental cut.

The history of piracy within U.S. entertainment from Doctorow Video on Copyright and Piracy shares insight on piracy’s evolution:

In the first part of the 20th century, sheet music composers would sell their music to performers. When recording devices were invented the performers then started recording the composer’s music to gain popularity and to make a larger profit. This is when the composers said that what the performers were doing was piracy and that the entertainers couldn’t sell their compositions without permission. The allegations were thrown out the window, just the same as when record labels tried to sue radio stations for broadcasting their music, when broadcasters tried to sue cable companies for selling their shows and when cable companies tried to sue Sony for the VCR because people would record their cable.

Now Sony and the studios are trying to sue the internet for piracy. How is this different than what anyone else has done in the past? It might actually be taken seriously this time.

A year ago, the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York announced the launch of “Operation in our Sites,” a program designed to shut down Websites associated with copyright infringement or crimes related to counterfeiting. According to TechDirt, the operation has already seized at least 82 domains.

“Operation in our Sites” is not the only program designed to prevent piracy. Introduced by Senator Patrick Leahy, the Protect IP Act, (Preventing Real Online Threats to Economic Creativity and Theft of Intellectual Property Act of 2011), was proposed on May 12, 2011. It is aimed at denying access and linking to Websites encouraging infringing activities, especially those registered outside the United States. The Act has not yet passed. It follows Leahy’s prior attempt, the Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act,which failed to pass in 2010.

With so many attempts to censor the internet, where is it heading? To increase the health of the cultural realm we need to allow more people to participate in the internet and its development. Is blocking specific sites targeting our right for the freedom of information or protecting the rights of the content’s creators? You tell me.

This post was originally written for Marketing conversations.

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