There has been much discussion on two proposed legislations in the US Congress. SOPA stands for the Stop Online Piracy Act, and PIPA is the Protect Intellectual Property Act. Given the title, I’m sure one doesn’t need to be told that the media entertainment industries are the special interest groups pushing this legislation forward. Their objective is to stop the illegal copying and sharing of entertainment media, sound fair? Unfortunately, as the links below will detail, the proposed methods have sparked much controversy because of the threat they pose to the principals that founded the World Wide Web. Principals that the average user takes for granted and would completely change how we experience our digital world if they ever went away. I believe Piracy is a problem, and I think it is important that students learn what is an acceptable and legal use of media, however I’m not convinced that SOPA and PIPA provide an adequate or realistic balance for user interests. Fortunately, the protests seen by online companies such as Google and Wikipedia have proved successful. Upon writing this article the debate on SOPA and PIPA have been suspended. But as highlighted in one of the videos below, this battle is far from over and these powerful companies will likely returned with renewed force sometime in the future, and perhaps less publicly.
That being said, I believe this incident is a call for the education community to take some responsibility for online piracy. Digital Media and Movie Making is about generating media, there is little creativity in the copying and sharing others work. Imagine your online curriculum being stolen and shared with thousands without your permission or knowledge. I encourage all educators to take advantage of these discussions and work with your students to promote the appropriate use, reuse, and distribution of media from the World Wide Web.
- Click here for an article I wrote that about copyright advice for teachers.
- Click here for a detailed article from the BBC that explains PIPA and SOPA in detail.
- Click here for a detailed article from Google that explains the campaign against PIPA and SOPA.
The two videos below provide excellent background to the proposed legislation.