Wednesday, January 18, 2012

What Is SOPA?

Wikipedia, Craiglist, Boing Boing and several other sites are going black today to protest SOPA. I wholeheartedly agree with them. But here's something I haven't heard mentioned yet.

SOPA is not about stopping piracy. Everyone (even the RIAA and friends) know that it won't stop piracy. Instead SOPA is an attack on the visibility of piracy.

I once called home-taping "civil disobedience against industrial mass-commercialization of music". And I believe it was. Copying is overwhelmingly supported (in practice) by the citizens of every country where the technology to do it is available. It is mass civil disobedience against a law which most people think is an ass.

SOPA is an attack on the public affirmation of that position. An attack on the "normality" of piracy. It stops me visibly and proudly displaying my disobedience and forces me into doing it (shamefully) in private.

And this is its main aim : to try to roll-back the perceived legitimacy of copying that has arisen because on-line "everyone is doing it". It's not about stopping pirates, it's about cutting off their "supply lines" of public support by criminalising everyone who "gives succour" to them.

No comments: