Originally published: January 4, 2012
Last updated: January 4, 2012 - 4:53pm
[Commentary] For too long, the solution to Internet piracy has been to “round up the usual suspects.’’ While the US economy loses billions because of copyright infringement every year, it seems the only people held responsible are stray hackers and unlucky college students who downloaded one song too many from their dorm room. The Stop Online Piracy Act currently before Congress would finally give law enforcement the tools to crack down on the websites that enable Internet piracy. Currently, one can use Google to quickly jump to a site that offers pirated HBO shows or bootlegs of the latest hit album, or go on YouTube and watch television shows or music videos uploaded illegally, actions for which neither website faces repercussions.
Free speech and fair use can co-exist. While the anti-piracy bill still needs further refinement to ensure that its legal wording precisely matches its legislative intent, online piracy is a major problem that imposes real economic costs. Congress needs to take action to protect American jobs from piracy. Although the proposed legislation may be imperfect, it is a strong and decisive step in the right direction.