Mathew Ingram says that Stop Online Piracy Act cannot coexist with the open Internet that we have today. Ingram does not that, yes, the Internet causes a lot of copyright infringment, and that’s not good for content producers. But the Internet has allowed much more creativity to blossom than it has snuffed out:
The Internet by its nature is — among other things — a giant copyright-infringement machine. Because anyone can grab whatever content they wish and change it, mash it up with other content and instantly republish, it’s hugely frightening and threatening for many media companies and content owners. For industries whose entire value proposition depends on their control over the flow of information, this kind of chaotic environment is the worst thing they could possibly imagine, which is why they continually push for legislative solutions such as the Digital Millennium Copyright Act and now the even more draconian versions of SOPA and E-PARASITE.
But the important point being made by Burnham, the EFF and other opponents of these proposed laws is that the benefits that we associate with the Internet — the massive explosion of individual creativity, the thousands of content-related and media startups and services, the “democracy of distribution” that Om has written about that allows anyone to become a publisher, the real-time information flows that have helped create revolutions across the Arab world, and so on — wouldn’t be possible without the downsides that content industries are so afraid of. The two go hand-in-hand. They are the yin and yang of the web.