What happens when one party’s inability to innovate harms another party’s opportunity to do the same? Should current anti-piracy legislation pass through Congress, we will see. Piracy has been a rampant problem for intellectual property holders since the dot-com bubble around the turn of the century. While bills have passed in Congress that aim to combat piracy, there has been little damage done to the overall battle against piracy. While the new bills, the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the Protect IP Act (PIPA), have enough firepower to make a significant impact against piracy, the peripheral effects may do more harm than good. Should these bills pass, an era of censorship on the Internet could take hold that will stall one of the US’s most vibrant industries: the tech industry. That is why I am asking music and film companies to push the MPAA and RIAA, the organizations in charge of regulating distribution rights and two of these bills largest supporters, to stop lobbying and start innovating. These are business problems, so there must be business solutions. By putting the millions of dollars spent per year on lobbying towards research, or asking the government for research funding rather than legislation, the tech industry may be able to find ways to stop piracy, rather than simply slow it as previous legislation has done.
Click here for a link to my paper.