We all remember the days when we bought CD’s, burned them, and then subsequently made copies for all of our friends. It was not until later that we realized these acts were illegal; and the government found ways to stop this so called ‘piracy’. After that, all of your favorite songs, videos, and even movies went digital. But we found a way to steal that too, or at least watch and listen online for free. Nevertheless, the government got involved and made a good example out of a few easy people to scare us … well, it was supposed to.
The fact is, whenever there is too much sharing, the government has always found a way to intervene. After all, isn’t sharing one of the first things we learn when we enter this world? We are taught to share or otherwise be considered stingy and selfish, turning away all possible chances at having friends. To me, the Internet and social media are built around this same principle, ‘Sharing’.
Now fast-forward a couple of years to the present, and you will find the same predicament. The government wants to pass SOPA (Stop Internet Piracy Act). If passed, the bill can bring a society of iPhone users, YouTube fanatics, and tweeters to their knees. It is a lot more than big websites such as Wikipedia and Google reshaping the way they publish online information. There will be no more sharing that one YouTube video you found, on accident, to everyone in your contact list. You will be forced to think twice before re-tweeting a message, and you can forget about posting a song to your personal page as ‘background music’. If passed, information may not be as accessible as it once was, leaving many of us to resort to traditional ways, i.e. encyclopedia. SOPA means complete censorship.
Despite personal feelings, I completely understand what the government says about the Internet and social media hurting commerce. Why buy a song when you can just go to YouTube and listen? Why buy a book when you can simply get the necessary information online? Why buy cable when you can connect your laptop to your TV and stream your favorite shows?
I get it, we are sharing a little bit too much and it is hurting someone’s pockets. However, from a consumer’s standpoint, if we like something enough, we will buy it – mainly because we hate dealing with the hassle of pop-ups, advertisements, and online commercials – It is as if those crying piracy are acting as though they are not making a profit. Nonetheless, these are the same companies that have created accounts on social media networks to gain exposure to connect with their fan base. Go figure. Not once have government officials asked us, the people who voted for them, how we feel.
Let’s be honest, since the birth of social media life has been easier. Still, the government somehow finds social media and ‘sharing’ a bigger issue than unemployment. It is now time to take a stand. Do not let ‘Blackout Wednesday’ be the only day that you pay attention to SOPA, or else it may turn into goodbye Google, YouTube, and Wikipedia.
About the Author
Shana Nugent is currently a junior at West Virginia University and majoring in management and marketing. Her career goals are to become a major contributor to the marketing and advertising field, and develop new and innovative ways to reach consumers. Contact Shana on twitter @shanadafuture or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.