What the Hell is the Madera Tribune Thinking Supporting SOPA & PIPA? Print
News - Opinion
Written by B|V|N Newsroom   
Friday, 20 January 2012 12:16

Another Exclusive Big Valley News Editorial

- There are some that might not believe that I am a subscriber of the Madera Tribune. I have been a big fan of the current publisher, Chuck Doud, ever since he and a group of local citizens took ownership of the paper a few years back. There are also some that may remember that during the early years of the old Madera Online, we would battle with the Tribune and its host of former publishers from Paul Bittick to Rocky Hayes (no relation to Les Hayes).

I prefer the relationship our two publications enjoy today. I have no problem sharing information with them and Mr. Doud has been a great mentor in helping me through some difficult decisions that I’ve had to make with my publication. With that said and the foundation for the respect I have for the new Madera Tribune and its publisher laid I have to ask; What the hell are you thinking by supporting SOPA and PIPA?

The Stop Online Piracy Act in the United States House of Representatives and the Protect Intellectual Property Act in the Senate are bills that would hurt the Internet and destroy businesses that have nothing to do with online piracy of music or movies. The bill was written to protect Hollywood’s intellectual property but would also shut down sites not based on facts or investigations but simply allegations.

Long before Mr. Doud ever thought of coming to Madera or knew anything about the Madera Tribune, one of its writers grabbed a photo from our website and used it in their story without my permission. Had SOPA been in place and they used the photo on their website, one phone call to the Internet Police would have shut down their website and seized their domain without any due process.

Let’s say they didn’t “borrow” the photo but they were just accused of doing so. Their site would still be shut down by the Internet Police. They would have been out of business until they could have proven themselves innocent. A website could even be closed down it there was a link to another website that might have offending content. What does this have to do with pirated music or movies? NOTHING.

I don’t think anyone is talking about protecting sites that deal in the transfer of illegally recorded music or movies. This is a problem that needs to be removed from the Internet. But these two acts are so far reaching in their scope that they could give our government to big of a club to beat websites up with.

Also how are SOPA and PIPA going to do anything to stop overseas or off-shore websites, like Mr. Doud gave as examples,  from continuing to offer illegally pirated music or movies? It would be a law only in the United States and would not affect sites outside of our borders. Any site that is within the United States that was violating an individuals copyright could be fined and shut down by the FBI or the judicial system and would fall under current laws like the Millennium Act.

I thought we lived in a country where you were innocent until proven guilty. With SOPA and PIPA due process is in jeopody and websites on the Internet could be closed down just because someone didn’t like what they wrote. I don’t think Mr. Doud took that into account when he wrote his editorial on the history of high sea pirating and compared it to the Internet.

I don’t think Mr. Doud understands all the benefits the Internet has offered our society or maybe it’s that Mr. Doud does not understand the Internet. I have been involved in online communication for over 25 years. I started the first bulletin board in Madera in the 80’s and have been operating our online newspaper since the 90’s. The Internet that Mr. Doud described in his editorial is not the Internet I have been using.

News Update: The House Judicary Committee has suspended action on the Stop Online Piracy Act. The decision came several hours after the Senate took similar action with it's legislation known as the Protect Intellectual Property Act.