January 18, 2012, is a worldwide protest against two copyright and intellectual property acts before the American Congress. One act is SOPA (Stop Onine Piracy Act) and the other is PIPA (Protect IP Act). These acts seek to place restrictions on websites that copy and redistribute various copyright material and other documents that are posted online. It has been said that these bills put the burden on website owners to police user-contributed material and call for the unnecessary blocking of entire sites.
Wikipedia, Google, WordPress, and many other global sites that offer services in this space are concerned that these bills will constrain or control the freedom to innovate and post material on the Internet. They are asking for people in the US to write their congressman and oppose these bills.
I am of a mixed mind. On one side I agree that this sort of legislation does change the freedom of the Internet and can limit innovation and creativity. On the other hand, those who create content and other products deserve to receive fair value for their work. The copyright problem does need to be addressed. Work is not free just because it was produced and published and made available to consumers or put on the Internet.
I am careful that almost all material posted on Kisekae World is my own work, or I have permission to copy and post other people’s work on my site. I do access or link to other people’s work on YouTube and elsewhere. I do hyperlink to other sites. I do share my work and support the free exchange of information and content. I do benefit from other people’s work.
But, I don’t necessarily agree that music is free to share to all, or that movies should be free, or that software should be free. I do think that if you post your work publicly then you do allow people to view and access your work and use it in derivative work with proper attribution. How you enable this access is your choice. How you allow derivative use is your choice. How you get compensated for your work is up to you. It is up to you to protect your property.
I create content. I write software and I create models and I create photographs of my models. I publish my work on Kisekae World. As an author and creator I do not want my work used without proper attribution. But, as a creator I may be in the minority with respect to this protest.
SOPA and PIPA are perhaps wrong. The musicians and movie makers and other people who publish works must take action to protect their property. Others should not have to police this for them. This legislation may not be the way. But the copyright problem does need to be addressed.