SOPA and PIPA – What do they mean to Indian IT companies?

They are both the same thing – They are bills which are under discussion in both houses of the parliament in United States – SOPA Stop Online Piracy Act ( SOPA) introduced in the House of Representatives and the Senate version, the Protect IP Act ( PIPA). But then you would wonder, why are people and organizations worrying so much if online piracy is what is being attempted to be stopped or Intellectual property is meant to be preserved with the creator? This is a good thing right when the creator gets due credit for the idea which he created. Movie production houses would be glad that their movies cant be downloaded online till they get paid and torrent sites cant upload their movies. Software product companies would be happy because everytime they release a product, they would get their licenses sold and not some hack or crack of their product being used by free downloaders.  But then, why this agitation? Why this Kolavari?

Stop SOPA PIPAWhy so much of fuss about these two?

SOPA (the Stop Online Piracy Act) is a bill currently in the US Congress that would allow the US Government to add sites to a blacklist, preventing anyone in the United States from accessing them. The stated goal is to limit access to pirate (“warez”) sites, and sites that sell counterfeit physical products. Fake Rolexes, designer clothes, prescription drugs, etc.

The intent of the bill is great. However, it has far greater ramifications.

If any data which any user posts on a blog or forum is copyrighted, that includes thousands of websites which use even small copyrighted images or content in even user posts – that forum gets into the risk of Going Dark. Permanently! Period.

Each word you post on a blog or some forum or some community site which allows user comments will be reviewed and audited before they go live. Small headache for you.. BIG headache for popular forums which you use on a daily basis. If you are a developer and you are using StackOverFlow forum and users are posting content. A large forum may have some 200000 pages. Of all those pages, if someone posts an ad on any one single page for downloading an illegal software or license and before even the forum moderators find the thread and delete it,  the entire forum has the risk of getting deleted from US search engines and entire site going dark temporarily! The amount of time that it would take to correct such an unjustified blocking would cause permanent damage to any interactive site.

It will cause similar or greater problems to the individuals actively seeking and providing help. They would not be able to log in to get the help any more.

What would this lead to?

This would lead to interactive sites stopping all interactions and user comment additions. Are you thinking of Wikipedia or you are thinking of Facebook? Or Elance? Whatever. Whichever website allowed you to comment on it will make sure that each of your comments are reviewed by someone before they are posted. Result – Response time would be astronomically high. People would ask questions in one time zone.. There would be a timezone lag for approval.. Then there would be a time lag for response and timelag for approval and then this process is going to slow things like anything which would take the value-add out from online interactive media.

Would you get impacted because of this?

Oh, Of course! It does not matter which part of the world you are in. Even if you are not in the US, then also this hurts you the same.

Situation 1: You are a US company. Directly impacted with what I shared above.

Situation 2: You are a Indian software company. If your site has content which is copyrighted, you wont show up on the search results in US. Major problem. Right?

Situation 3: You are a developer. You use forums which are mostly on US server. About 85% of them. If they shutdown, your access to expert help diminishes.

Situation 4: You are outside US. You dont have anything to do with Internet. You still are impacted because a lot of the news you read in the newspapers are stories which are picked up from the Internet with live stories/content which people upload real-time. If websites which take in user stories take time to review, verify and then post. Things will not be REAL-TIME anymore!!

Now do you think you should oppose SOPA /PIPA?

Cheers,

Sam

 

References:

1. Warrior Forum – Why people are opposing SOPA PIPA

2. MadMikesAmerica – Stop SOPA/PIPA

3. Economic Times – PIPA and SOPA: Wikipedia, Google protest internet bills on online piracy

4. And Many more.. Google News

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6 thoughts on “SOPA and PIPA – What do they mean to Indian IT companies?

  1. I have gone through various links for understanding what will the actual impact of the bills(SOPA & PIPA) but did not find everything in a one place…Thanka a lot Subhendu for such Post….!!!

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