Here we go again. First it was the DMCA. Now it’s SOPA, and this time it’s probably worse.
I get it: There are many sites based in countries like Russia and China that have made it their business to sell pirated content. Honestly, I'm not that bothered by sites that deliver pirated content for free to people who are going to pirate it anyway, but I do have a real problem with sites that sell our content (or anyone else’s) and take all of the revenue for themselves. Having read the Act in its entirety, I think SOPA was probably designed to combat these sorts of sites.
The problem, though, is that SOPA is simply too broad. Whack-A-Mole doesn’t solve anything. Through SOPA, legislators have tried to create a law to protect the flow of digital information—a challenge that simply can’t be tackled without undue risk to all of the things that we enjoy about Internet freedom. Legislation like SOPA is not the answer.
As a businessman I can see why people find SOPA attractive. Many publishers are afraid of technology because they think that piracy will eat away at their content sales. Couple these fears with an economic downturn that’s worse than any we’ve seen and you end up with an act like SOPA. Build a wall to protect your financial interests and anyone who comes near will be shut down with a volley of arrows. That will fix the problem, right? Wrong.
SOPA is trying to solve a real problem, but it’s like dumping a water tower on a burning trash bin. You put out the fire, but you flood the neighborhood. No Starch Press is against SOPA, and we encourage other publishers to trust their readers, as we do. Do the right job, focus on quality, and give your readers what they want and deserve. They’ll return the favor by supporting you.
If we, as content producers, would spend more time producing great content and treating our readers fairly, rather than trying to whack every mole, we’d all be better off.
William Pollock, Founder
No Starch Press