The entertainment business has been criminally assaulted by wrong-headed thinking that says we need to keep up with the Internet. No, search engines need to abide and adhere to the laws that have governed this country for over 200 years. It's a moral imperative. Thou shalt not steal.
It has branches in some 50 countries. It has members of parliaments and city councils. The Pirate Party, founded only five years ago, is today's fastest-growing party among voters under 30. Its core message: internet piracy should be legal.
Internet users realized during the debate over SOPA and its companion bill, PIPA, that because they were not at the table, they were on the menu. Vowing 'never again,' they have thus set their sights on ACTA.
January 18 may well go down in history as the dawn of a new age of First Amendment-shielded political agitation via the Web, but at the same time as the twilight of constitutional protection for "the public domain."
Since the future of SOPA and PIPA is largely in doubt, industry and lawmakers are left looking for a path forward. But the debate is not confined to the United States; digital piracy is increasingly being touted as an international trade concern.
The best way to protect and even promote democracy is to protect the freedom of the Internet. While SOPA has created a stir publicly, we must be vigilant about even some of the "conveniences" we are presented with, lest we all break the law of unintended consequences.
Getting citizens involved will make Congress pay attention, but not every issue is a SOPA, where the internet shuts down in protest. Most issues fly below the radar. Only an empowered, capable Congress can make decisions.
Over the last ten years technology has changed. The way people want to consume television has changed. And yet Hollywood is moving at a snail's pace when it comes to revolutionizing the business model.
Behind the SOPA legislative scene a very different and highly competitive industrial-scale battle is being fought by publishers of the web's content, Internet service providers (the final distributors of content) and copyright owners, including Hollywood.
The MPAA and NATO are panicking because they don't know how to replace revenues lost not to piracy, but to newer commercial content platforms like Netflix or YouTube. This is a better explanation for the brinksmanship over the now-tabled SOPA/PIPA legislation.
Web community, bask briefly in your glory. Then get back to work, because the next industry-sponsored bill to curb technology will be here before you know it, and they might be smarter next time about how they pursue it.