Online piracy bills: Is it media vs. Internet companies?

Websites today took a stand against the Stop Online Piracy Act and the Protect Intellectual Property Act, both making their way through the U.S. Congress. However, many media companies have backed the proposed legislation, including News Corporation, Time Warner, Disney, ABC, CBS and more.

Media companies don’t want their content to be stolen, but Internet companies argue that the bills would be hard to enforce, impact companies’ ability to do business, and would end up stifling innovation and free speech. The Internet blackout, led by online giants Wikipedia and Google, has changed the course of debate, and several lawmakers announced they no longer support the bills.

Content creators have done well in Washington recently, and creating a new law that would “cripple platforms that make it possible for users to link to or generate content of their own” don’t make sense, as current laws “already give the content industry power to have content removed after a site has been notified. And granting the content industry power to have content removed after a site has been notified. And granting the content industry the power to enlist the government’s aid in blocking sites is one that authoritarian regimes will celebrate; we, the democratic leader of the developed world, will be no different from them,” Susan Crawford, Stanton Professor of the First Amendment at Harvard’s Kennedy School, wrote for The New York Times today.

But not all media executives are convinced. Rupert Murdoch, chairman and chief executive of News Corp., took to Twitter to voice his disagreement with those voicing their opposition to the bills.

“Nonsense argument about danger to internet. How about Google, others blocking porn, hate speech, etc? Internet hurt?” he tweeted Tuesday. Today he added “Don’t care about people not buying movies, programs or newspapers, just stealing them.”

Murdoch famously blocked Google from featuring content from News International newspapers when they went behind paywalls.

Others believe the fight isn’t just “content” vs. “technology,” Bloomberg reported.

“SOPA makes much more sense if you look at the debate as big companies unwilling to accept change versus the innovative companies and startups that embrace change. And if we accept that startups are created to find new ways to create value for consumers, the debate is actually between the financial interests of “big content” shareholders versus consumer interests at large.”

This entry was posted in censorship, Government, law, legislation, piracy. Bookmark the permalink.

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