Ah the beauty of Google. It is the freedom to search for anything and have immediate access to it. Anything from apples to zucchinis, armadillos to zebras, Amazonian Rainforests to Zimbabwe culture. Yes, that is the true gift of the Internet. It is the ultimate liberty to go to YouTube and watch, well whatever we wish to watch. On the flip side, you can upload videos yourself so long as you obey Copy Right Laws.
However, a new legislation has just arrived that threatens this system.
The Protect IP Act is a new legislation that has just arrived at the Senate. Also known as the Stop Online Piracy Act, seeks to protect American Intellectual Property. The most notable quality of this act is that it is not aiming to censor political views or religious speech. Instead, it would allow the attorney general to have Internet service providers block any sites without a court hearing or trial if they host any material or content that causes copyright infringement. In addition to Internet service providers are advertising networks, search engines, and payment providers. This is a significant change as the current law protects them from any civil liability if they remove the problematic material or content immediately.
Furthermore, the bill would also make companies liable for users’ actions. In other words, any problematic actions taken by the users of a site puts the site at risk. Think of what would happen to YouTube! Think of the millions of users who are uploading questionable content as you read this blog.
Currently, social networks such as Facebook and Twitter have protection under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act that gives these websites immunity from harm as long as they take down any problematic content when notified
I’m sure you know what I’m talking about when a video on YouTube is taken down and a screen that says, “This Video was taken because it is the property of Viacom.” Or even when the video remains but the audio is taken out. How annoying.
The main point is that the bill seeks to destroy the power gained through cyber networks. This power is a good one, something that should be welcomed because it allows users to communicate, explore, and share with one another at an astonishing rate. To censor that communication would cripple the very core of cyberspace. In essence, this bill threatens free speech.
How do you think this bill will play out? Would the Internet be what it is if it was censored on this kind of level? Would the Internet be even useful without the freedom it grants to the users who utilize it?