SOPA/PIPA – The Greatest Threat To The Internet And Innovation So Far

Last November I wrote a post about the upcoming SOPA/PIPA legislation currently being debated in the US Congress and Senate. I concluded that SOPA would have a negative impact on gamers and on games. I said,

Even worse, because the burden of proof is lowered even further, it may become rediculously easy for game publishers to take out the competition. Just claim copyright infringement. Right now you cannot copyright an idea. But since there is no due process anymore, just a claim that the competing developer has infringed might be enough to close down the competitor. This might not work between two giants like Activision and Ubisoft, but what about Activision claiming against an innovative indie developer?

There’s no way an indie can fight that sort of fight. Right now indie developers are enjoying a golden age as the web has opened up lots of opportunities for them. How easy would it be for SOPA to end all that?

That was a big concern of mine, and while it was directed specifically at indie games, there are all sorts of indie ‘industries’ that SOPA will kill.

Right now the Internet has lowered the entry bar to all kinds of creatives. If you are a musician you can put up a website and let people download your music. If you are a writer you can write a novel and self publish far more easily now than any time in history. An Indie game developer now has access to the tools, content, and resources to make games that would have been considered AAA ten years ago.

I think we are coming in to a golden age of creativity where anyone will be able to create art, both commercial and non-commercial, and find people to share it with. The challenge will be the development of new and innovative tools that enable those connections between creators and fans.

This is a threat to the gatekeepers. The publishers and agents who controlled the means of distribution. They don’t create, they sell what the creatives build and give back small returns. In the past they were necessary, now, not so much.

These gatekeepers have made many fortunes off of the work of others, and they are now threatened. So they are spending large chunks of these fortunes to bribe  payoff lobby politicans, who don’t understand the technology, all over the world to crush that innovation and to retain the old obsolete business models. They have stated that the needs of the wider Internet community are subservient to their own and that it is okay to break the Internet in order to meet those needs.

Not only will creativity be crushed, you won’t be able to have secure web access to your bank and other online accounts, because the DNSSEC (Wikipedia entry) work is regarded as circumvention and will be illegal. (Even Comcast a SOPA supporter has said that their DNSSEC implementation clashes with the SOPA provisions. What a mess!)

Because I’m not a US Citizen I cannot vote in any US elections, I can’t even contact a US politician and let them know how I feel, so Stropp’s World is not going to go dark on January 18th in support of the movement against SOPA/PIPA.

However, I’d love to encourage as many as you who read my blog and live in the US to contact your federal and state representatives about SOPA and PIPA. Find out where they stand and let them know in no uncertain terms how you feel about this evil legislation. Let them know that this legislation is toxic and will cost them votes and possibly their seats.

If you want to go further, and this isn’t limited to US citizens, contact the people you buy stuff from. Find out their position on SOPA, and if they are pro tell them you won’t be buying their products until they change their position (this worked with Godaddy, kindof.) Of course you have to back it up. Make everyone see that the Internet is not just a bunch of ineffective nerds, but a very powerful political force that cannot be ignored in issues such as this.

Your comments are welcome. Tell me how you feel about this.

By the way, I found the image at the front of this post using Google Image search. Is it copyright? Perhaps. If SOPA is enacted, I could lose my site without any recourse at all if anyone, not just the original copyright holder makes a complaint.