You may be surprised at how intently the rest of the world was watching the US Congress deal with Internet piracy bills commonly called SOPA and PIPA. Millions of American voters flooded Congressional offices with calls, letters and emails to protest the proposed solution on the floor of both houses of Congress. Congress acknowledged the public’s wishes and backed off…for now.
The truth is somewhere in the middle: something does need to be done to protect copyrighted material on one hand, but the proposed solution was over the top and would have negatively impacted both consumers and business, especially small businesses. It would have needlessly created a tiered, for pay, internet that benefited big government and big business but leaving ordinary internet users behind.
So how was the battle perceived outside the USA, especially in areas known to pirate computer software, games, music, and movies? One poll on the popular internet community LiveJournal caught our interest.
Just as an example, in the small country of Georgia pirating music and movies is rampant. So we went to LiveJournal to see the results of a poll from popular LJ blogger Sukhumi (http://cyxymu.livejournal.com/1102972.html). He began by writing: “It is difficult to explain to a person with low income that you have to pay (lots of money) for the use of a program that Google helps you find (for free).”
So, what were the results of his poll?
(Poll Question: Do you download or share pirated content from the Internet or from torrents?)
NOT SURE: (4.2%)
Now before we go and try to make too much of this we must note that a few hundred responses does not make this a scientific poll by any stretch. Yet it is telling.
Should Congress be concerned with internet piracy? Sure, but existing laws are sufficient to protect copyright owners. The sponsors of SOPA and PIPA attempted to use copyright theft as a smokescreen to hide larger issues. That was shameless.
Thanks to the American public for seeing through the sham.