Jan 18, 2012


Today sites such as Wikipedia, Reddit, Mozilla and Minecraft are going dark in protest of the SOPA and PIPA bills.

While I'm behind efforts to curb online piracy, I've been paying attention to how, at least in its original form, SOPA was poorly-defined, to the point of being open to abuse. I've read the stories about how it could lead to small online business being shut down, or someone's blog could be taken down for posting images from a movie they were discussing or links to the movie's homepage.

I've also seen that certain changes are being made to SOPA, like removing the US courts' ability to instruct ISPs to shut down sites based on the suspicion of copyright infringement. These are good things to hear, because it means someone is listening to the fears and is taking steps to better define exactly what SOPA is meant to do.

In the end, I know there's little my voice does compared to internet giants like Facebook, Google and Wikipedia. I'm not even sure I'm qualified to fully understand the scope of what SOPA means or offer reasonable suggestions as to alternatives.

What I do know is that, as a blogger, I rely heavily on the freedom to provide links to outside sources, so I would hate to see anything damage that. As an author, I would rather risk a few people pirating a digital copy of my book if it meant that those who bought and enjoyed my book could freely share that love and talk about it openly.

I hope that, whatever happens, we'll all still be able to share information and maintain this amazing global community which the internet has allowed us to create.


  1. I have to say the more I think about copyright law the more dubious it seems to me. How do you sell something but not transfer Ownership? It seems to me to be dangerously close to Fraud… As a consumer rather than a creator I may have a different point of view.

    One publisher that I follow is BAEN. A number of years ago they introduced a Baen Free library championed by the Author Eric Flint and the late Jim Baen where they give away ebooks and notice an increase in backlist title paper sales, perhaps times have changed since but I think this experiment is worth reviewing… http://www.baen.com/library/intro.asp

  2. Well said, Paul. Piracy is wrong, but SOPA and PIPA are not the answer.

  3. I had read that Amazon and Twitter were going dark too, but maybe they decided not to. (And I agree with you and Matthew on these issues.)

  4. Excellent analysis of the situation, Paul. I went into Wikipedia, and saw the blackout, then wrote a note to my three Virginia senators. Yes, we'd all like to see piracy stopped, but I agree with Matthew. SOPA and PIPA aren't the answer.
    Ann Best, Author of In the Mirror & Other Memoirs

  5. Great thoughts here. I think you've hit exactly why so many people have issues with the bill.

    Sarah Allen
    (my creative writing blog)