Should the "Stop Online Piracy Act" (SOPA) be passed?

by MBaexriumbee on September 2, 2014 - 1:23am

In the article "Brake the Internet Pirates", published in the National Post on the 19 of January 2012, the author is discussing the House bill known as the "Stop Online Piracy Act" or SOPA. The editorial was published the day on which major websites ( especially Wikipedia, Mozilla and Reddit) were supposed to close  in order to protest against this act. First of all, the author explains that the online piracy industry is not an harmless industry anymore. He claims that this multibillion dollar industry is a legitimate and growing economic problem and should be known under its technical term, theft[1]. The author is shocked by the reactions of websites, as he claims the motives behind their reactions are more linked to irony and hypocrisy than any kind of justice and freedom of expression. The author is also criticizing President Obama for his position against SOPA. Stating the obvious bias on intellectual property as the opinion in this article comes from a media, the author finishes by stating that SOPA regulates online intellectual property where it was not regulated already and if the government does not intervene in order to protect it, the motivation for creativity and innovation will be threaten. So, the big ethical question raised in this editorial is whether intellectual property should be regulated online or does  intellectual material, even though it is under intellectual property and copyrights, should be available any time, without any cost to the public.

            The author, even though he is biased, follows a couple of principle. First of all, he agrees that intellectual property is as important as material property. Secondly, he claims that copying and distribution of materials under intellectual property without the owner's consent is theft.  Therefore, because he indirectly claims that thievery and fraud are morally wrong, the theft of intellectual property and any fraud associated with it is wrong. In accordance with this statement, he believes the "Stop Online Piracy Act" should be passed.

            On the other hand, adepts of free content believes that copyrights are immoral. "E-vangelists", as the author calls them, believe that "anybody is entitled to access to any content at any time at no cost"[2]. Also, the anti-SOPA side believes the Internet is all about free flow of information. Therefore, SOPA is immoral and should not be passed as it is in opposite with the concept of internet in itself.

[1] "Brake the Internet Pirates." National PostJan 19 2012. ProQuest. Web. 2 Sep. 2014 .

[2] Idem.