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Friday, January 20, 2012

Online content, copyright and SOPA and PIPA

By Pankaj Ladhar of Manos • Alwine P.L.

You would have been hard pressed this week to not notice the online backlash against two proposals in Congress Supporters say these laws are necessary to stop illegal foreign piracy of intellectual property such as movies, songs, and television shows. Critics of the proposed legislation say that the bills go too far, and allows for censorship and the chilling of the freedom of speech without due process.

There is no question that the delivery of and availability of commercial music and video online has forever changed the way that these industries operate. Being able to distribute music online makes it possible for nearly anyone to discover new music or disseminate it quickly and easily, gone are the days when the local record store was the only hope for finding obscure titles or up and coming local bands. But of course, the flip side of that easy distribution is that it is more and more difficult to ensure that those that create and have a legal interest in the music are able to control and benefit from its distribution.

This week, in protest of the proposed legislation, Google had a black bar over most of its name. Wikipedia went dark altogether and instead instructed users on how to contact their congressional representatives. While the concerns of censorship and an unworkably broad scope of power from the current proposals are significant. It is clear that copyright infringement on the internet is a very real problem that directly affects artists and musicians.

Hopefully the increased attention to this issue will result in negotiation and cooperation between all sides to develop a plan that serves everyone's legitimate interests.

Source: Fox News, "Florida's Marco Rubio Joins Backlash to PIPA Bill," Jan. 18, 2012


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