I was going to write a post about SOPA / PIPA…

But Scott Greenfield did it first, and pretty much summarizes how I feel about the law:

Unlike others, I am not a believer that information demands to be free, in the sense of copyright being an archaic concept and infringement an entitlement.  I believe that people who create content are entitled both to own it, monetize it and prevent others from stealing it.  Yes, stealing it.  If someone else created it, then it’s not yours to do with as you please, no matter how much you want to or think you ought to be allowed to.  If you want content, create your own.

But believing in the virtue of protecting the creation of content does not, by any stretch of the imagination, mean that these shockingly overbearing laws are the means by which enforcement of content ownership should be protected.  The internet has created innumerable problems with enforcement of copyright, with servers far away delivering content to any computer for the asking.  It’s inadequate to ask nicely that people not steal.

Yet the answer to this problem isn’t to wield a hammer so large and powerful that it will undermine the internet, shut down upon demand and without recourse any website, no matter how large and significant or small and inconsequential.  Worse still, the hammer is placed in hands so untrustworthy, so self-serving and manipulative, that the potential for damage to digital society is beyond anything imaginable.

Not much I can add to that.

Like it or not, piracy is theft.  It’s a problem.  And people aren’t going to stop stealing stuff just because we asked them nicely.  And if you’re a young lawyer reading this, you might also consider that piracy could be construed as theft by deception.  (I’m not aware of any lawyers getting into disciplinary trouble for downloading content illegally, but it wouldn’t shock me if it happened, either.)

That said, the answer isn’t giving the government unlimited power to censor the internet.

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