I’m a writer. I write stories and I have, in the past, posted them on the Internet. Other people have taken these stories and posted them in other places on the Internet without my permission and, most of the time, without crediting the story to me. Sometimes, the poster even gets complimented on his or her story, as though they wrote it. There’s even one person who’s talking about making a game using a character I created, even though it’s my goddamn character.
Every time I see one of my stories posted on someone else’s website, without it being properly credited, without my permission, a series of blood vessels begins bursting in my brain. It makes me so angry that if I were to meet any of these people in person, I’d slap them sharply and without explanation. But they’d know why, deep in their awful, crusty, thieving hearts. And then I hope that they die with that knowledge that they’re damn stealing stealers.
Now, with that said, I still think PIPA is a terrible idea. Even with my incandescent, nearly homicidal rage whenever I see one of my stories pirated, I think PIPA is so terrible, it shouldn’t have successfully gotten past the planning stages. It is clear that the people who wrote this bill had only the barest glimmer of how microwave technology works and shouldn’t have been let anywhere near something as stupefyingly convoluted and complicated as the Internet.
With SOPA and PIPA, if a user posts pirated material on YouTube, YouTube gets shut down. If a users posts pirated material in a forum, the forum gets shut down. If a user posts pirated material on Facebook, Facebook gets shut down.
In order to avoid being shut down, every website ever in the history of websites, will have to monitor its users and commenters to make sure no-one is posting pirated material or linking to pirated material. Facebook alone has something like 800 million users that they would be responsible for policing at all times to make sure that one of them doesn’t post something that’s copyrighted. So Facebook is doomed.
While SOPA has been set aside so that they can retool it and PIPA has had some of its teeth removed (originally, the bill stated that any site dealing in pirated materials would be blocked from view by ISPs. For example, Comcast and RCN would be responsible for making sure that you can’t go to piratebay anymore), they still blundering and awkward tools that are incapable of stopping piracy and incredibly capable of hindering progress. Any new social media site is going to have to greatly restrict the flow of information in order to police its members effectively. The Internet’s growth will be determined by two bad bills.
When a bill fails to do what it achieves and does more harm in the process, then it’s a bad bill.
As a creator and as a creator who has had his work lifted by goddamn stealing, thieving pirates, I believe PIPA and SOPA, bills designed to protect the creator and the creator’s work, are a bad idea.