Should any Internet freedom ever be sacrificed to fight piracy?

Moderated by Jason Hiner | January 29, 2012 -- 16:47 GMT (08:47 PST)

Summary: SOPA-like legislation wasn't the right way to fight piracy. But won't a better solution still require some compromises?

Lawrence Dignan

Lawrence Dignan

Decidedly Yes

or

A Resounding No

Zack Whittaker

Zack Whittaker

Best Argument: A Resounding No

The moderator has delivered a final verdict.

Opening Statements

It isn't the Wild West anymore

Larry Dignan: The Internet has grown up with this somewhat ludicrous idea that there's this heavy dose of freedom and anything goes. The reality is that every entity that plays on the Internet---advertisers, content providers, information producers, service providers and the U.S. government---all have a role in tracking what you do and roles to thwart piracy. The Internet just isn't Wild West anymore although some folks like to portray it that way. If we want professional content and capital risk, we have to fight piracy. This argument also goes beyond Hollywood and the music industry. Pirated software costs technology giants a bundle too. Will that anti-piracy movement mean that some freedom falls away? Yes, for people who are pirates/criminals. Criminals sacrifice freedom in real life. Is the Internet all that different?

For me, the question about whether Internet freedom can ever be sacrificed for piracy is decidedly yes. We just have to be smart about who loses the freedom.
 

We would not stand for it

Zack Whittaker: The answer of course is simply a resounding "no". As seen in recent weeks with the SOPA and PIPA protests, the Web would become a stagnating pool of offline sites and 404 messages.

Pandora's box was opened with peer-to-peer file-sharing during the late '90's. Nothing was done at the time, and now our respective governments are trying to claw back what little control it has on Web users' actions.

We as a society have seen what a "free and open" Web is---something the founding fathers of the Internet prescribed---and it would be inconceivable to see a fragmented, distorted and 'broken' online world.

Simply put, we would not stand for it. We can only really miss something once it has gone, and as seen with recent protests, a significant minority speaking on the vast majority would not let such infringed freedoms happen.

If it started with piracy, it would never stop.

Talkback

90 comments
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  • RE: Should any Internet freedom ever be sacrificed to fight piracy?

    Industry "talking points" don't convince me.<br><br>I have some sympathy for the MPAA members, but I don't have any for the RIAA members.<br>All of these so-called "anti-pedo" and "anti-piracy" laws, are deliberately worded to facilitate abuse, by Corporations and the Government.<br><br>Money that isn't paid to the multi-national media companies, can be spent at local businesses.
    lehnerus2000
    Reply Vote I'm for A Resounding No
    • Three Impacts

      @lehnerus2000

      After reading the debate and having followed this issue closely, while I do agree with Larry's points, he looks to be missing something critical.

      The internet is comprised of what I call three buckets:
      1. Economic
      2. Social
      3. Communication

      There is a lot of overlap betwixt these depending on the specific use.
      I am seeing almosy all of Larry's points factor in Economic.
      Zack's spread more across all three (EU background?).

      Then I have one last question: Why should the USA become the "policeman" of the internet?

      I'm voting a resounding "No".

      Nice debate :)
      rhonin
      Reply Vote I'm for A Resounding No
  • RE: Should any Internet freedom ever be sacrificed to fight piracy?

    No, no and no. The way I see it, the fight against piracy is just a front for something more sinister: the control over content and distribution by governments and corporations.
    Jean Chicoine
    Reply Vote I'm for A Resounding No
  • A Dose of Reality

    I don't claim ignorance of the fact that piracy causes lost revenues, but let's be realistic. Those pushing the legislation claim piracy is causing missed revenues. What about local libraries? They provide media for no cost (which could subsequently be copied) to a any number of people. What about Joe Smoe's video store? Is he really paying royalties to the movie studios whenever he rents a video out... especially considering he bought the video at Wal-Mart? What about Bootleg Bobby that drives up to my office every Thursday with last week's newest release? Is this legislation going to shut him down? Now if the legislation passes, I wonder how people will ever find another venue to "back-up" their media from...

    This legislation is just a golden ticket for the media industry to get what it wants the way it did in the golden years.
    AnAccountICreated
    Reply Vote I'm for A Resounding No
    • RE: Should any Internet freedom ever be sacrificed to fight piracy?

      @AnAccountICreated I don't believe the claims that piracy causes lost revenues; at least, not piracy at the individual downloader level. Sure, big "DVD factories" (located in Third World nations and China, usually) might be causing *some* lost sales, but generally the prices that *can* be paid in those places are a tiny fraction of the retail prices of the "legitimate" products. Furthermore, the RIAA's figures claiming revenue loss have been shown to be mathematically impossible, and are predicated on the theory that every single human using the Internet would spend his or her entire annual income on music CDs if only piracy didn't exist.<br><br>It's all a lot of lies made up by Marketing departments and lawyers.
      Morely
      Reply Vote I'm for A Resounding No
    • RE: Should any Internet freedom ever be sacrificed to fight piracy?

      @AnAccountICreated In response to your whole query about rental stores, WE DO in fact have to pay royalties for every video rented. It's very heavily monitored and can get heavy repercussions if anything funny happens. If you make money off of media, you have to pay royalties.

      Personally I'm keeping an open mind until the debate. No point going in headstrong.
      Gavello
      Reply Vote I'm Undecided
      • RE: Should any Internet freedom ever be sacrificed to fight piracy?

        @Gavello If that's the case (all across the board), then I am corrected. I know of one video store in my town which I would seriously question whether or not they actually pay such fees, and I'm 99% sure my parent's friend back in the VHS days wasn't doing so... hence my rant.
        AnAccountICreated
        Reply Vote I'm for A Resounding No
      • There are thieves everywhere

        @AnAccountICreated
        [i]I know of one video store in my town which I would seriously question whether or not they actually pay such fees[/i]

        And just as there are those who do illegally pirate stuff to pocket the savings, there will be stores like the one you mentione that will, too.

        Just as there are alot of people who are honest and don't pirate, they pay their share, there are stores that are honest and pay their share.
        William Farrel
        Reply Vote I'm Undecided
    • RE: Should any Internet freedom ever be sacrificed to fight piracy?

      [i]@AnAccountICreated In response to your whole query about rental stores, WE DO in fact have to pay royalties for every video rented. It's very heavily monitored and can get heavy repercussions if anything funny happens. If you make money off of media, you have to pay royalties.[/i]

      So if you sell a used CD or DVD from your own personal collection on ebay and make a profit, are you going to write to the content creators and offer them a big cut?

      lol... :D
      ScorpioBlue
      Reply Vote I'm for A Resounding No
      • RE: Should any Internet freedom ever be sacrificed to fight piracy?

        @ScorpioBlue
        Game, set, match!
        They always seem to forget these things.
        Sceptical Observer
        Reply Vote I'm for A Resounding No