Technology isn’t what drives the Internet. It is the collaboration and free exchange of information is made possible by Internet technology that has made the ‘net a global phenomenon, and an almost indispensable part of our world.
The drawback top the free exchange of information is that not all of the information out there is free. A good deal of it is owned by someone in some way, and they deserve to be paid for it. The information that we share with our friends on our social media pages is ours until we give it to the owners of the website, and frankly, they have the right to do with it what ever they please. This is why it is so important to pay attention to the privacy settings of your social media- who knows how your information can be used once you relinquish control of it.
Giving up our information is simply a way to pay for the service the social media sites provide. In order to be able to share pictures of your cat doing something cute, the site owner just wants to have your name, email address, and maybe your birthday. But what about more “valuable” types of information? What about a piece of information that someone has spent time and effort to create in order to make a profit?
There is nothing wrong with other people who don’t know you or your cat seeing the videos of your cat, because you are sharing it for the fun of it. But lets say that a huge Hollywood studio has made a movie. Whether the movie is any good or not, the movie was made so that the investors could make a profit on it. If the movie is copied on the Internet, and watched by millions for free, the studio and its share holders are being robbed. All the free praise, positive reviews, and Microsoft Dynamics CRM in the world aren’t going to make up for lost ticket sales.
Just like the kid who sneaks into the theater through the back door is stealing, so are the Internet pirates who post copyrighted material on the ‘net. While a theater owner can put better locks on his fire exit, the copyrighted media outlets are hoping the proposed “Stop Online Piracy Act” (SOPA) and the “Protect Intellectual Property Act” (PIPA) will give their property the same sort of protection.
Chaining a fire exit closed to keep kids out puts theater patrons in danger. Will SOPA and PIPA do the same thing to the free exchange of information on the Internet?