I read with some intrest the recent row in the States regarding the attempted introduction through Congress of anti-piracy legislation known as ‘SOPA’ (Stop Online Piracy Act) and ‘PIPA’ (the Protect IP Act).
In a dramatic twelfth hour climb down (for now) by Congress the bills are being prosponed. This is after mass protest from people around the world, Wikipedia “blacking out” its pages for 24 hours and a number of “service of denial” attacks against Government websites.
The bills along with their predecessor Protect IP, intend to blacklist websites which illegally share copyrighted material have been accused by detractors, of the attempted beginnings of a controlled US Internet Firewall which may harm Google, Facebook and Youtube.
Under the provisions of the bill in its harshest form, there is scope to make a criminal offence out of somebody uploading a clip of a TV show to Youtube, with the harshest sentence being 5 years in prison.
The war over the bill has become a battle of more than just file sharing, it has become a debate over the stifiling of creativity and free speech versus big business and corporate interests.
Any precedent set in America is naturally going to flood over to the UK at some point.
Worried? We should be.