What SOPA & PIPA Mean for Meetings & Trade Shows

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.

For more information on these bills, check out this article on CNNMoney or Google’s summary and video featuring bloggers and other Internet companies.

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!

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With experiences as both an exhibitor and a show organizer, Marlys Arnold has a unique perspective on trade show exhibiting. As an exhibit marketing strategist, she travels the country consulting and training on how to create experiential exhibits that produce significantly higher numbers of qualified leads. She’s led workshops for events ranging from local consumer expos to some of the largest trade shows in the U.S. She hosts the Trade Show Insights blog/podcast, and is the author of Build a Better Trade Show Image, the Exhibitor Education Manifesto, and the ExhibitorEd Success System. Exhibit Design That Works (the first book in the YES: Your Exhibit Success series) debuted in July 2017. She’s also the founder of the Exhibit Marketers Café, an online education community.

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