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What are SOPA and PIPA?

Many people have heard of the Preventing Real Online Threats to Economic Creativity and Theft of Intellectual Property Act (PIPA).  Even more people have heard of the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), which held publishers responsible for user content. Earlier this year, in a move that made headlines, a primarily internet based grassroots movement put SOPA back on the drawing board.  PIPA, the Protect IP Act, was a similar bill that faced an equally large number of protests. In both cases, much of the protesting was carried out over the internet, which leads followers of this news to wonder: When will the internet rise up against the ACTA or CISPA the way they did against SOPA and PIPA?

What New Laws Are Being Proposed?

The Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) is a multi-national agreement between the United States, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Japan, Morocco, Singapore and South Korea which is essentially an international version of SOPA.  However, some worry about the broader scope of the ACTA. One source argues that “the provisions in the agreement appear… more expansive than anything we saw in SOPA”. Details Here

The Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA) is a bill that facilitates the sharing of information about cyberspace activity between the government and manufacturers and companies. The problem with this bill is that given the kinds of authority the government and the related companies will have, it can extend wherever they want it to, including, but not limited to, copyright violation.

Is it Right for Governments to Regulate?
Very few people would argue solely in favor of copyright violation. Most people agree that it is wrong. In a perfect world, it is certainly a wonderful idea to prohibit copyright violation. However, this is unfortunately not a perfect world. Since there is such a grey area regarding copyright infringement on the internet, to ban copyrighted material and require constant judgment calls that will naturally be found in favor of large businesses with buying power will slowly eat away at the internet to the point where it will become almost completely useless. The only stake in the internet will be held by companies and the last vestige of free enterprise that exists in its true form will be gone.

Regulating the internet is not the right thing to do. Not only will it forever damage the internet and leave it in the power of corporations, it will seriously impede on the first amendment right to freedom of speech protected from government interference. If the fine people of the internet could be assured that no freedoms would be attacked and only harmful copyright violations would be brought down, it would probably be an entirely different scenario altogether. Unfortunately, that is almost entirely not possible. The government is notorious for taking liberties with its power and legislating through action. That is not a negative statement against the government. It is a fact of power that is unavoidable.

Copyright violations on the internet are a huge problem. Something should definitely be done about it. Thankfully, something is already being done about it. When a website is reported for copyright violations, US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the Department of Justice, and/or the Department of Homeland Security gets involved, seizes the website and turns it into an anti-piracy billboard. That is all that can and should be done. Anything else would be extreme, zealous and damaging to the internet as a whole.

Author Bio:- This article was written by Karl Stockton, a writer who knows the value of good Ethernet cables

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