We all survived the blackout, but how effective was it? The question may take some time to answer, but support for SOPA/PIPA appears to have weakened in its wake.
The biggest light shed this week may have been that on the rift between Hollywood and Silicon Valley. And why not? I mean, we have content creators and content access providers – and they both have their interests. But when Bills are drafted that seemingly only protect the rights of one, surely the other will see a few ruffled feathers.
We ‘Creatives’ are lucky. We get compensated for our ideas and the intellectual property that we create. In our industry, much of what we create isn’t tangible. But the creation and ownership of that product is just as real as the cake your local baker prepared. Art is art, content is content – though the form may take many shapes, it’s all creation – and the rights of those who create content should be protected. So, how can we have our cake and eat it too?
The answer lies in the way these Bills are written. We all agree that we must protect IP – this has been a challenge in our industry for a long time. America is a place of tremendous freedoms – and with the freedom to create also comes the right to protect. But, we also need to protect the rights of those who provide the access. After all, without an audience, who would consume the content?
By and large, the tech giants support the bills in theory – but take issue with it as drafted, stating that they expose law-abiding web and tech companies to uncertain liabilities, calling for monitoring of web sites. Thus, infringes on the rights of the content providers.
Rights should be protected, but censorship is not the answer. In order to draft a proper Bill that manages to protect the rights of content creators, but isn’t a gateway to censoring the web, one needs understand the architecture behind the internet. Backers of SOPA/PIPA do not appear to fully appreciate the unintended implications critics are citing. So, in addition to the great web blackout, the tech giants have thrown support behind the Online Protection and Enforcement of Digital Trade (OPEN) Act in an open letter to Chairman Issa and Senator Wyden.
Could the OPEN Act be the solution we are all looking for?
We need both the creators and providers – and we need to protect the rights of each. So, we need to find a middle ground. The day the web went dark is only the beginning.
How did the blackout affect your January 18?