Some people think the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) is about censoring content creators. Others think it is about guarding intellectual property. Either way, the proposed legislation is about the control of creative works. It promises to have a measurable impact on everyone who disseminates and accesses content via the internet.
In a (generalized) nutshell, the pro-SOPA lobby represents factions that control the most valuable creative content. These include the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), and other big-business groups. The anti-SOPA lobby represents factions trying to introduce and build value in new content, such as independent content creators, tech innovators, and third-party content aggregators (Google, Facebook, Twitter, etc.).
Sound familiar? Food for thought:
Infographic via: Business Insurance Blog
Aside from its promise to generate plenty of legal red tape, SOPA is a complex bill with both potential drawbacks (censorship) and potential benefits (control of creative works) for recording artists. As you sift through the propaganda on both sides, consider this: Sen. Al Franken, one of the most progressive legislators in Congress (and a lifelong creative), supports SOPA. Rep. Ron Paul, one of the most reactionary, opposes it. If that surprises you, you should get up to speed on SOPA before you sign any petitions. There are corporate interests lined up on both sides of the aisle, and none of them are particularly interested in the fate of your latest song.
The debate goes far deeper than piracy, to who really owns digital content. Do you know where you stand?
You don’t need to worry about the interests of Microsoft or Facebook or Dell or Google or Sony or eBay (despite their gaudily financed pleas). Instead study and understand how SOPA will affect the long-term viability of your creative work. And then raise your voice to the rafters.