Today, the Web protested SOPA and PIPA in various ways. And though momentum seemed to start shifting as long as a week ago, the protest went on, and some Washington politicians started changing sides, suggesting that maybe, just maybe, sometimes representative government can’t be bought.
I even saw a quote somewhere–I wish I’d written down where–that attributed one side-changer as saying it’s more important to get this legislation done right than to get it done fast.
I agree. I write for pay sometimes and expect to be able to continue to do so. I understand the need for copyright. But crippling the Internet as a whole to make it a little harder to violate copyright isn’t the answer. Any new law that tries to aid in copyright enforcement has to do so without harming legitimate uses of the Internet. And legitimate uses do far outweigh the illegitimate uses.
Look at Sony for an example. Sony was a SOPA supporter up until two weeks ago. But 37 years ago, Sony was on the other side of a copyright battle. Sony invented the first commercially successful VCR, which was useful for violating copyrights. But in the end it ended up making the movie industry a lot more money, because it made it possible to sell movies to consumers after their run in theaters was over. It gave unprofitable movies a second chance to become profitable, and made it possible to milk blockbusters for decades.
Breaking the Internet today would be like banning the VCR during the 1980s would have been. It would do a lot more harm than good. What broke today was only a fraction of what would happen under a SOPA/PIPA world, and it was only for 24 hours.