Anyone who's turned on a television or surfed the web in recent days should have heard about the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and Protect-IP Act (PIPA). Both sides have weighed in and each have valid points.
Anyone who has a website, blog or produces a product sold online, has or will be affected by both the pros and cons of this Act.
Now, I'm not going to jump on the bandwagon in favor or or against either side, because in all honesty, I've found myself torn.
As a citizen of a country based on the inalienable rights of a free-thinking society, I worry about government sanctions on something that is essentially "international space" (I think of it like that part of the ocean that eventually becomes International waters where nobody has the upper hand).
Of course, my business is romance and not politics, so I may be way off in my analogy of the internet. That being said, this entire post has more to do with how this issue effects me personally, more so than taking a stand for either side. At least that's my intention.
This is how my world works.
I am a single mother, raising my children on a VERY limited budget and we are like many Americans who live hand to mouth to survive. I know how to make a dollar stretch and doing so is the only way I'm able to keep a roof over our heads... a leaky roof, but a still a roof.
If unscrupulous individuals download one of my $5 e-books then posts it on another website, giving it away for free.... my family loses everything and I do mean EVERYTHING. (Fortunately, nobody knows who I am yet, so I've dodged that bullet for now. Many of my peers haven't been as lucky)
That being said, I have to be blunt and say that I really don't shed many tears for those industries because I know they get their money from the $10- $15 movie ticket I buy when I splurge and go to a theater for a new movie release. (Don't even get me started on the $5 soda and the $10 bag of popcorn.)
Yes, bootleg music and movies cost them financially, but let's be real, they aren't going bankrupt by any means. Hollywood's A-lister's kids aren't going to have to settle for community college and Jay-Z and Beyance's beautiful new baby girl, Blue Ivy, isn't going to have a smaller silver spoon than other musician's kids. They'll all be just fine, I'm sure.
Will SOPA/PIPA really protect my rights and keep my books from being stolen and handed out to the world for free? I personally don't see how.
The internet is too complex and pirate sites go right back up with different IP addresses five minutes after they're shut down. It's a proven FACT! I'm sure nobody can or will dispute that. It happens!!
It frightens me that there will be some government agency somewhere deciding what I have a right to see, say or research. Kind of sounds like China and North Korea, censoring what their citizens are allowed to see online.
Do I think there should be laws about pornography? Definitely when it comes to crimes against children or women, but should someone somewhere decide whether or not "Joe Citizen" living in "Wherever", USA has the right to watch willing adults participate in consensual "whatever"? My answer would be a resounding, NO.
What scares me the most is, what would stop the government from deciding that simply writing romance novels with sex in them is illegal? I could be arrested and that's NOT a world I want to live in.
Am I saying it will happen? No. But on that note, I can't say it wouldn't either.
All I know is that whatever entity is going to make the decision regarding SOPA/PIPA, do so with regard to everyone, including the little guys, like me.
Is it a far stretch to assume that this Act could lead to serious government censorship bordering on Communist type governing? Perhaps, but stranger things have happened.
Here's your chance to share what's on your mind, and please feel free to do so with the respect and decorum all of you have always maintained as a guest here at Sealed With a Kiss!!