The way we are consuming copyrighted material is changing. We are not buying CD’s, DVD’s, or books as much as we used to and Peer to Peer (P2P) networks have made it very easy to distribute and share media. Some of this media is in the public domain (such as old movies and books where the copyright has expired), and lots of it is available under licenses that encourage us to share and even change it without infringement (open source software and lots of the content on YouTube is copied this way). Recently released movies and music are typically not in the public domain but they are also being copied and when this happens it violates the creator’s rights and is illegal.
There is nothing wrong with trying to protect the rights of those that make creative content but the proposed Stop Online Piracy Act SOPA has the potential to do much more harm than good. SOPA is a reactionary response to online piracy that would allow any domain under a registry located in the US (all gTLD’s) to be blocked if it was accused of hosting content or ads that infringed copyright. It would apply to all .com domains, regardless of the location of the registrant, because the .com registry (Verisign) is in the US.
Webnames.ca does not endorse copyright infringement. What we do support is constructive engagement, such as this recent suggestion from Vint Cerf on the internet-history mailing list: http://mailman.postel.org/pipermail/internet-history/2011-December/002044.html. We also believe that models for media distribution that use the internet and protect copyright (such as iTunes and the Amazon Kindle) will continue to grow and will work without government intervention.
What are your feelings on the proposed Stop Online Piracy Act? Feel free to leave your comments.