I believe that the PIPA and SOPA acts will have negative repercussions. In some cases piracy can benefit artists. For example, lots of musicians become popular because their work is distributed illegally amongst the public. This creates a larger fan base and overtime this helps them to establish a name and create the following that brings in revenues later. Large corporation trying to put a stop to piracy have not thought about how this could potentially have a negative effect in the long run. Artists such as Lady Gaga, who are now wildly popular, got their start playing at small venues and sharing their songs in a more underground, alternative scenes. It took that activity to make them the big, multi-million dollar stars they are today. I assume that different companies supporting these artists are lobbying for these type of government bands on the internet. They need to realize that sites such as youtube and other social networks allow people to share artists’ work with each other, creating popularity. Our generation has begun to utilize these sites to manipulate and share art, which continuously helps to shape our culture. Today’s artists have these types of mass media to thank for the spread of their work and the acceleration of their fame. Shutting down these sites does not only limit our freedom of expression online, but it will also stifle modern artists ability to reach out to the public at large.
The wonderful and culturally saturated lessons we learned from prohibition lead to the War on Drugs–which has been almost completely ineffective, extraordinarily expensive, discriminatory, and socially regressive! Thank the lord we learned not to criminalize substances whose uses are more or less inevitable, forcing the business underground where it cannot be regulated, thus dramatically increasing the likelihood of systematic crime and violence! I’m sure we’ll learn our lesson with SOPA! Today, it’s the enforcement of copyright! Tomorrow, maybe it’s “hostile speech,” then the next day “undesirable speech”! Soon we could have a War on Communication, effectively banning the entire internet (except where experts deem its use to be necessary, under highly controlled conditions, of course). But hey, we would have learned our lesson with SOPA and PIPA, and we’d have overturned them! Foreign piracy sites for everyone
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