Thursday, January 19, 2012

Protect Intellectual Property Act? Blocking Freedom Of Expression

PROTECT IP / SOPA Breaks The Internet from Fight for the Future on Vimeo.

Recently I found out that the government is once again trying to limit our freedom of speech, but it's worse than just shutting us up. If you watched the video then you realize how bad it is. Through two new potential laws on capital hill, PIPA (Protect Intellectual Property Act) and SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act), it would be practically illegal for us to share the latest music, talk about upcoming movies and television shows, and express our opinions on anything that anyone might feel threatened by.

Could you imagine putting up a youtube video of yourself letting Drake know that it's real while playing his music in the background but then end up getting thrown in jail? Or what if you uploaded a few songs to youtube that you really liked and put a disclaimer letting everyone know that it was not your property but you were still getting arrested for placing it? While the first example is a huge exaggeration people put songs on youtube all the time. Then they place disclaimers to keep from getting their videos pulled from the web. Well, if the above legislation's are passed then disclaimers won't matter. Anyone who does would be labeled a criminal.

But then it doesn't end with the entertainment industry. I remember when I was just a teenager learning how to write poetry. I'd been teaching myself that art of creating fiction for a while, but poetry was starting to catch my heart. While doing all this writing I heard about all the great exposure the internet could get me. Well, the number one focus was one day becoming an author, but the internet was becoming a huge attraction. There were two reasons for this attraction.

One reason was the simple fact that people were socializing and paying attention on the internet. If they payed attention that meant they'd notice me. Once they noticed me I could start advertising myself off as the great writer I thought I was. The internet was essentially a writer's dream since it has always mostly survived on communication.

The other reason was because my parents said I shouldn't. They continually talked about how the internet was dangerous and could ruin a person's reputation. While a writer's reputation is based on others reading their work, my parents didn't understand that concept when it came to me. Anything I said would be seen as dangerous to them. They warned me about the dangers, watched my every move when I logged onto a computer, and felt secure that I was doing the right thing by avoiding the horrific world of the internet. Well, they said I shouldn't get on and the mysteriousness of the internet that they created sparked my curiosity. Then one day I actually joined the world wide web.

I posted my first poem on the internet whenever the notes section on Facebook first appeared. I want to say that was 2006. Then I created my first blog (not including school blogs) in December of 2008. I went from fearful writing to utilizing music videos in my posts within a couple of months. Around this time only God knew what I was trying to achieve. Once I really learned to use blogs as an outlet I started mixing my poems, short stories, interesting new stories, music, and entertainment industry talk together. I basically went crazy with expressing myself.

However, PIPA and SOPA are trying to take away our rights to use practically anything involving music and industry. If those are taken away what will we have? There will be a bunch of personal blogs and websites. However, there's always someone who doesn't agree with an opinion. So will they arrest us for talking about our work day experience, our goals, dreams, and the weather outside?

I admit my parents were right. The internet can ruin your reputation. While the music and entertainment industry makes billions of dollars every year they think that certain people on the internet is ruining the money they could be making. However, there are already laws in place to product the entertainment industry from piracy. So what about our freedom of speech? Freedom of speech wasn't placed in the first amendment on accident.

Do you agree with the legislation? Would you want a law to decide what you have to write to talk about when you get on the internet? I'm a writer, so I will always be on the side of freedom of expression.

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