SOPA is not your friend


Stop SOPAHave you heard of SOPA? It is the acronym for the Stop Online Piracy Act. The act is designed to protect all of us from online piracy. Sounds great right? Sure, but in reality it is not protecting us it is hurting the small business. Let me explain why.

Have you ever used an image from online in one of your blogs? How about a logo? Most likely you have. Did you pay royalties on that image or request permission to use the logo? What about that video of your mom singing “Oops I did it Again” or even you singing “Happy Birthday”. All of that is considered a copy right infringement and SOPA can come after you!

Who SOPA is benefiting are the big companies, ie. music and entertainment. Much like we saw with Napster, the big companies don’t want people to use their material in any form. Except with Napster where it was taking money from their pocket by illegally downloading music a person would otherwise be buying, they are punishing people for increasing brand recognition.

What can they do?

Well for starters they can shut down your site. They can shut down your domain or even your paypal account. Their reach is broad and deep. They can also do this whether or not you actually infringed on copyright. Say someone posted a link in a comment that was copyright, you are now responsible. If you do get flagged for infringement, you can’t fight it until they actually shut you down. And even then it might not matter.

Of course SOPA is powerless when it comes to going after the real pirates. They can only block domains not IP addresses. The real pirates who are downloading illegal activity do that via an IP address not a single domain name. So for them a blocked domain means nothing. For you it can mean that you lose all your traffic and therefore your business.

The long reach of SOPA can actually give the every day user a 5 year prison penalty for infringement. Yes 5 years in jail for that video of your 5 year old singing “Can’t touch this”.

As you can imagine sites like Facebook and Youtube are fighting against SOPA. You can help stop SOPA by contacting your state senator or going to this site to help file your opinion on SOPA to your senator.