A lot has been said recently about SOPA and PIPA. Although both of these bills have been temporarily shelved, the fact of the matter is that there will definitely be other proposals put forth that have similar scopes and powers – and who knows what will happen to them.
Many internet marketers feel that SOPA and PIPA aren’t going to affect them at all. After all, what does a bill designed to combat online piracy have to do with internet marketing?
Unfortunately, the answer to that is: More than you think.
What is Okay to Share and What is Not?
Because SOPA and PIPA are essentially going to clamp down on copyright violations and piracy due to online sharing, the question that many average Joe’s are going to have to ask themselves is this: What is okay to share and what is not?
When you find a piece of content that you like, is it okay to copy and paste part of it to your friends? Is it alright to pull an article off someone else’s blog and link to them and provide credit or will it be deemed as a copyright infringement?
The fact of the matter is that internet marketing thrives on sharing and spreading content, and PIPA and SOPA both threaten to change the climate of the internet into one where sharing carries risks and so many people may avoid doing so.
More importantly however the big fear that some internet marketers have is that SOPA and PIPA will give big businesses the ability to bully others.
Let’s just say your main competitor happens to have a lot of resources and they don’t like the fact that you are close to surpassing them – they could claim that you have infringed on their copyrights and file an injunction. Whether or not this is even true, the fact of the matter is that this could result in a long drawn out legal battle that you will have to devote resources to.
One of the biggest problems with SOPA and PIPA is that they have an ‘act first, investigate later’ mentality that turns them into a valuable weapon and creates a situation where competition could turn very abusive.
Long story short – these bills have much more to do with internet marketing than most people realize. For now they are shelved, but something similar will probably surface at some point or other.
While it is true that copyright infringement and online piracy need to be dealt with – the manner in which they are dealt with should not impact legitimate businesses and sharing online, or create a climate where people fear to do so or can use the new laws as tools to get at their competitors.