ACTA is the new SOPA
Wednesday January 18, 2012 marked a special day in the Internet’s history for being the world’s largest protest in internet history, in opposition to SOPA. Google, who is a chief opponent in the Stop Online Piracy Act and the PROTECT IP act had a petition on their website which gained over 4.5 million signatures. Also many of us spread the word of the wrongs of SOPA on to our social networks, and some went as far as writing representatives in Congress. I wrote 4 of them.
Well, victory was short lived. A couple days after rejoicing about SOPA being repealed, I noticed a new video on my Facebook news feed this morning, explaining what ACTA is. The Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement is a global approach to what the United States was looking to draft with SOPA. Practically this is the same thing as SOPA, it talks about “rewarding creative industries which have suffered losses in the billions as a result of online piracy”, and about how it will enable large corporations to stop illegal sharing of copyrighted material.
In reality, ACTA is just the international version of SOPA. It is practically the same thing to ordinary internet users, and it will heavily restrict what can be done online. If you run a website, you can even get sent to jail for having links from your users which link to copyrighted material, which is insane. That’s synonymous with group punishment for something you didn’t take part in. The scariest part of ACTA in comparison to SOPA is that this has been in discussion with 39 other countries, and that the United States is already signed onto it. While SOPA was a success, ACTA poses as a real threat to the world and everything the internet has stood for since its inception. Freedom of expression of information and opinions.
People think that these legislation’s are really going to stop piracy, when all they are going to do is destroy our society. The internet has built up our economy and is one of the biggest technological advances made in human history. What concerns me most coming from an artistic point of view, is that these laws will effect how we promote ourselves and how we share information. The internet has become the chief vehicle of promotion and business for artists since the MySpace era and the beginnings of Social Networking. User generated sharing, is how many artists become discovered like pop singer Justin Bieber, who was discovered on YouTube after he started posting videos of him singing cover songs at talent shows. If there was ACTA or SOPA in place, chances would be low that Bieber would have ever become a relevant household name with teenagers all over the world. There are many more examples to this, but the bigger picture is that internet censorship is morally, ethically, and politically wrong, it sabotages and destroy’s the beautiful thing the internet is.
Take action against ACTA and any other censorship of the internet that comes forth. This has been in discussion for many years, but is only becoming noticed due to blackouts of major traffic-heavy websites and social networking posts. The mainstream news does not cover this issue on the television much, due to it’s ownership from large for corporations that own their news organizations. Sign petitions, write representatives, it was us the people that got SOPA shelved.