Unless you’ve been completely offline this week, you’ve likely seen the widespread protest against the SOPA and PIPA bills in Congress. But there’s been strangely few media mentions within the meetings/conventions/trade show world, and I can’t understand why.
Thankfully, these bills seem to be losing traction in Washington, according to an article on Mashable. But here’s the nuts and bolts of what provoked the bills and why we should all care.
Everyone knows that intellectual property piracy runs rampant in certain sectors of the Internet, especially when it comes to movies and music. So the movie makers and recording studios are pressing for more stringent policing of these pirate sites. Understandable, right? I mean as an author/speaker/content creator, I’m a huge advocate for enforcing copyright and intellectual property (IP) laws. But the problem with SOPA & PIPA comes in when you learn just how far this enforcement can go. If either of these bills (or a similar version) were to become law, the government would be able to completely shut down ANY site that posts copyright-violating material. So conference sites that post (or allow attendees to post) photos, audios, videos or any potentially infringing materials would be shut down (no matter who posted them) with virtually no room for argument.
Do copyright infringing sites need to be shut down? Definitely. Should this come at such a high price for site owners who thrive on user-generated content? No way!