Essay: Anti-Piracy Legislation Infringing Civil Liberties

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¶ … Against Anti-Piracy Legislation

The Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) is a bill pending in the U.S. House of Representatives that is, according to its proponents, intended to stop the illegal U.S. copyright infringement perpetrated from individuals and entities in foreign nations through the Internet medium. A companion bill, the Protect IP Act (PIPA) is also pending in the U.S. Senate. A European version, the Anti-Counterfeit Trade Agreement (ACTA) has already been signed by Australia, Canada, Japan, Morocco, New Zealand, South Korea, and the United States (Jolly, 2012). In principle, these types of legislation are extremely detrimental to the concept of free speech and intellectual liberty and stand to completely undermine the value of the relatively new Internet medium on a worldwide basis.

Proposed Justification

According to the proponents of these pieces of legislation, they are necessary to protect the proprietary interests of the rightful owners of copyrights and other forms of intellectual property from illegal infringement that is rampant online (Wortham, 2012). They point to the harm done to the music and motion picture industry in particular and suggest that the only way to protect the rights of those who produce intellectual property is to censor the entire Internet.

Counterargument

Critics of these types of legislation acknowledge that there is a need to regulate and to prevent certain specific types of activities over the Internet that violate rightfully-held copyrights and other forms of intellectual property. However, these bills are all tremendously overbroad, because they would actually authorize government agencies to shut down entire websites based on even a single instance of copyright infringement posted on the website (Perlroth, 2012

). Moreover, this form of regulation would be triggered even by the posting of unauthorized links to external sites and material posted by members of the public who use the websites in addition to information or links posted by website operators (Perlroth, 2012). These measures go far beyond what is necessary to protect the owners of intellectual property and threaten to stifle free speech, free intellectual expression, political activism, and the very value of… [END OF PREVIEW]

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"Anti-Piracy Legislation Infringing Civil Liberties."  Essaytown.com.  February 22, 2012.  Accessed October 23, 2019.
https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/anti-piracy-legislation-infringing/3287710.