The news today states the wikipedia blackout in protest of the SOPA and the PIPA- the Stop Online Piracy Act and the Protect IP Act. The two laws are in discussion with the purpose of introducing the internet censorhip. The bill is a further development form the closure of the one popular torrent site- mininova. Oh how I miss the mininova. It was the one source of all the files I ever wanted to download- softwares, movies, wallpapers and so forth.
The closure of mininova did ring in some fears into all of us for the very idea of one source of free stuff cut down meant a lot of trouble especially for the movie and the TV series lovers like me. Well it was a little strange that a move like that didnt manage to make a huge impact on the other sites. The mininova’s dependence is now shifted over to the pirate bay and it is doing the job in a fairly decent manner. I do not miss the mininova much of late.
As for the new PIPA and the SOPA, the move is largely in favour of the media industry which has been at the receiving end and bearing a brunt of losses cos of the internet piracy. Imagine the priced audio cd’s and collections being out there in the torrents as a free material! It is a heart rending sight for the industry which does all the work to release a product and to see that it is out there for free. In other words, all the effort gone in to making the product goes in as free water on a downhill slide.
On the front, it does look like a policy aimed at purely the online piracy. But it certainly seems to extend to the counterfeit consumer goods and medication. From the macro economic point of view, the patents come into picture and when we talk about the patent, the one most blatant fear is of the pharma industry. We are aware of the tussle with the TRIPS and India and especially the pharma industry outside India. The western countries conveniently believe in the concept of product patent which means there is no reverse engineering to realize the same end product. This is a sane move with the media, softwares, etc in mind. But consider and industry like the pharma on which the entire world is dependent for its existence. Imagine a pharma industry shelling out money for the patents and this does come to bite us back as the increased price of the drugs. I have always carried the belief that the patent should be exempt atleast on the factors on which life all over depends so heavily. There is no point in trying to afford extremely expensive drugs just cos the patents want to come to the limelight. Maybe there is a way to bring in a balance so as to the people and their intellect responsible for the product are duly respected and all the same.
Coming back to wiki’s opposition, I am in total support of the move. Media and journalism has always believed in the concept of free and fair information. The SOPA and the PIPA cover up the free part of the information which is a dangerous thought. It is a little hard to imagine life without wiki and the SOPA PIPA probably have a certain few changes to make, not to the internet world but to the very bill themselves 😉 ..