Okay, so we’re all agreed that SOPA is a bad thing, right? Good. Now, let’s look at the whole thing again. Perhaps SOPA, as nasty and questionably supported as it is, could actually change the internet for the better. Not convinced? Here’s the explanation.
SOPA is about piracy, and piracy is a huge part of the internet. Let’s be honest here: we all know that copyright is infringed on the internet on a very regular basis. Some companies actively encourage this with their viral videos. The promotion of abuse of copyright is one of the defining features of modern corporate online activity. Yes, the same companies that want their copyright protected are often, themselves, not bothered about copyright except when they want to use it defensively.
So if SOPA is enacted to its fullest extent, here’s what will happen: the internet will cease to be a recycling mill for copyrighted material, and we will start to see the development of an entirely new, independent ecosystem. SOPA will help us to sweep out the last remnants of ‘old’ media from an internet that should be about the creation of new content and new ideas. Seriously, the internet should be about more than the sharing of old episodes of Friends on YouTube.
I want to be clear: the manner in which SOPA has been pushed through the US political system is abysmal. But again, we should welcome the fact that the moral, ethical and intellectual poverty of that system has been exposed so freely. It will take time for most people to recognise this stupidity, but there is not retreating: US politicians have shown their true colours. They can’t deny what they have done.
So SOPA is a case of short-term pain leading, hopefully, to long-term gain. Let’s stop fighting for the rights of people to share old episodes of sh*t sitcoms, and start welcoming an age in which major entertainment companies will punish their customers and, eventually, realise they have f*cked up. And let’s hope that by the time they realise their mistake, it will be too late and they will wither and die. Stop complaining and start creating! Let the cold, dead hands of the major entertainment corporations cling to their copyright as they fade from relevance.