Insisting that the Stop Online Piracy Act poses no threat to the freedom and security of the internet, Rupert Murdoch has ironically taken to Twitter to protest the bill’s impending failure.
“Big bipartisan majorities both houses sold out by POTUS for search engines. How about 2.2 m workers in entertainment industry? Piracy rules”
“Nonsense argument about danger to Internet. How about Google, others blocking porn, hate speech, etc? Internet hurt?”
Of course, Mr. Murdoch is glossing over what the bill actually does, and doesn’t, do. First, it doesn’t stop piracy. At all. What is does is block the name of a website from search engines like Google. So if you were to type in “The Piratebay.org” in order to download that hot new Justin Beiber album (may I take a moment to point out that sharing the same first name causes me pain on a molecular level), the site wouldn’t come up. Of course, you can type in the IP address, 188.8.131.52, and you’re on your way to Beiber bliss. If you feel that even this low level of internet know-how is beyond you, fear not! There are already add-ons for your favorite browsers that completely, and legally, defeat the awesome power of SOPA to block websites.
Yes, it’s THAT easy to get around.
Obviously, SOPA is worthless in regards to stopping real, actual piracy. What it IS good for though, is allowing large media companies, for instance, Murdoch’s Fox, to shut down rivals like Facebook. Remember, Murdoch owned MySpace for a time and the ability to shut down competitors would have been priceless. Mr. Murdoch and his cohorts in the entertainment industry would have us believe that they would never use their power in such a heavy handed way.
Murdoch and his buddies will absolutely use this law to crush competitors and, yes, even free speech that does not comport with their views. The fact that Democrats are supporting this makes me ill. Fortunately, the White House has come out against this assault on the freedom of the internet:
“While we believe that online piracy by foreign websites is a serious problem that requires a serious legislative response, we will not support legislation that reduces freedom of expression, increases cybersecurity risk, or undermines the dynamic, innovative global Internet”
So far, so good. And with the sister bill PIPA (Protect IP Act) running into heavy resistance from Darrel Issa (R-CA), it seems as if we’ve dodged a bullet for now. And yes, you read that correctly, a Republican is fighting tooth and nail against large corporations. That’s how bad this bill is for free expression.
Sorry, Mr. Murdoch, the United States government is not your personal police force to advance your corporate goals. You’ll have to find others ways to control that which was not meant to be controlled.