I've been watching this SOPA debacle unfold for over the past two (2) months.
["The Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) is a law (bill) of the United States proposed in 2011 to fight online trafficking in copyrighted intellectual property and counterfeit goods.
Proposals include barring advertising networks and payment facilities from conducting business with allegedly infringing websites, barring search engines from linking to the sites, and requiring Internet service providers (ISP) to block access to the sites.
The bill would criminalize the streaming of such content, with a maximum penalty of five years in prison"].
The large Internet companies (including Google, Amazon, and Yahoo), seem to have won last week Wednesday (January 18), by being able to pressure Congress to defeat a bill (SOPA), meant to protect small copyright owners.
And everyone jumped on the bandwagon of a "free" Internet, that these large Internet companies touted:
But let me ask you the entrepreneur, business execective, copyright owner... is Google, Amazon or Yahoo providing you with their services for free?
What about your content that these large Internet companies help you make available to your end users, are these companies doing this provisioning, for free?
Or do they charge you a percentage royalty on the sales you make, or charge you monthly to provision your product or service on the "free" Internet?
The reality is that whilst end users may think that they're getting a free service, advertisers (including small copyright owners), pay through their noses to place ads or get their services distributed through these "free" services that these large Internet companies provide.
If SOPA or any of its derivative bills that will protect copyright owners, is not passed in the US Congress, then small copyright owners will have no rights to their content online.
These copyright owners include authors, musicians, video publishers and in general, persons who develop content in written or media format, that can be sold.
Small content owners and developers depend on their intellectual property (IP) to feed themselves and their families and to provide jobs for others.
(The World Intellectual Property Organization defines Intellectual property as, "creations of the mind: inventions, literary and artistic works, and symbols, names, images, and designs used in commerce").
Yes, content owners provide direct and indirect employment for graphic designers, web designers, web hosts, publishers, marketers, producers, music dealerships and labels, advertising agencies, lawyers and other related industry professionals involved in the packaging and distribution of copyrighted material.
When copyright infringers - thieves of other people's copyrights, are allowed to flourish online, they drive sales away from the original content owners' sites, making these owners starve, putting them in debt and eventually forcing them to close their businesses, which in turn, puts people of out jobs.
This cannot be good for the American economy, which is built on small businesses (over 50% of persons employed the USA are employed by the micro and small business sector).
Not passing SOPA or any of its helpful derivatives, will mean that the large Internet companies will be able to do as they wish with copyright owners' materials...
...materials that copyright owners spend months and years to develop, will be at the mercy of copyright infringers who use the services of these large Internet companies.
What is especially hypocritical is that these large internet companies (e.g. Google, Yahoo and Amazon), will defend, not only their copyright, but their other IP rights in the form of patents, for billions of US dollars and even pull out of countries, when those rights are infringed.
...When sued for patent infrigment, they defend their IP rights to ensure victory in these suits.
Examples of this can be seen in the following articles:
1) Article, "A flurry of patents suits hits Amazon", by Mark Brohan Research Director - Internet Retailer, October 28,2011
2) Article, "Amazon wins appeal in one-click buying lawsuit", by Electronista Staff, Electronista.com, September 23,2011...
...Yet they don't want to protect the intellectual property rights of small copyright owners.
Then they had the nerve to castigate other Internet companies that support the illegality of copyright infringement, through SOPA.
(E.g. several service providers like Twitter and GoDaddy that once supported SOPA, caved in to the pressure from these larger Internet companies and withdrew their support for SOPA).
What is especially abhorrent is the fact that these large Internet companies blocked out sections of their websites, on Wednesday January 18, (aka the SOPA Blackout), to oppose a law that will protect the small man in America - (including the entrepreneur and the small business owner).
I'm appealing to:
1) The American people, especially small copyright owners, to lobby Congress assiduously, to reconsider SOPA or any of its derivatives that will help the small copyright owner
2) Congress to make your messages be clear re what SOPA or any of its derivatives is/will be and how it protects (will protect) small copyright owners - the small man in America...
...Please don't be bullied by these large Internet companies, whose very roots were built on the protection of their own copyright and other intellectual property rights.
If America is to experience a turn-around economically, you must protect the copyrights of all persons, not just those of the large Internet companies.
(The above photo of the website, Cracked.com's stance on SOPA and PIPA was used with permission, via Flickr.
Cracked is a site dedicated to satirical humor).
CEO & Owner - Market Opportunities Unlimited,
1. Article, "SOPA Is Dead: Smith Pulls Bill", by Todd Wasserman, Mashable, Janauary 21, 2012
2.Article, "Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA)", via Wikipedia, accessed Janaury 19,2012
3. Article, "What is Copright?", via Plagiarism Today, accessed Janaury 19,2012
4. US Small Business Administration website FAQs section, Question 2: "How important are small businesses to the U.S. economy?", via the US Small Business Administration website, accessed Janaury 19,2012
5. Article, "SOPA Blackout: Wikipedia, Google, Wired Protest ‘Internet Censorship’", by Ned Potter, Technology Review, January 18,2012
6. Article, "GoDaddy No Longer Supports SOPA," by Greg Kumparak, TechCrunch.com, December 23,2011
7. Article, "A flurry of patents suits hits Amazon", by Mark Brohan, Research Director - Internet Retailer, October 28,2011
8. Article, "Amazon wins appeal in one-click buying lawsuit", by Electronista Staff, Electronista.com, September 23,2011
9. Podcast, "Google threatens China pullout over intellectual property theft claim", Presenter: Karon Snowdon Speakers: Dr Jason Wilson, Lecturer in Digital Communications University of Wollongong; Alok Aggarwal, Chairman of US based research firm Evalueserve, January 14,2010.