SOPA – Stop Online Piracy Act

Plagiarism and piracy is something that has recently come up in class, and it comes with a lot of baggage.  Who’s responsibility is it to teach to the students?  Who’s responsibility is it to enforce it?  What types of punishment is involved when it is found that a student is infringing on copyrights?

 

The federal government has been worried about copyright issues as of late too – so much so that they are trying to pass SOPA – the Stop Online Piracy Act.  According to the federal government the purpose of this act is simply to protect copyright holders.  However, it places a lot of power in the hands of the government, giving them the ability to force search engines and ISPs to block copyright infringing sites – essentially creating a United States Firewall.

 

The question is, is this good?  Personally I do think that copyrights do need to be protected, however, the rights of the individual need to be protected as well.  From all that I have read about SOPA, it places too much power in the hands of the government, and equates to what is bordering on internet censorship.  What about in terms of education, will the SOPA help to promote proper netiquette by bringing light to piracy and copyright issues?  As discussed in this e-Literate blog post, http://mfeldstein.com/how-georgia-tech-has-shown-the-perils-of-sopa/, something like SOPA could have a huge impact on education, partially because it does not take into account ‘Fair Use’.  As an educator I know that we like to use and share what we can – although some educators are not learned in the art of citations.

 

I guess simply we have to see what happens with SOPA, how it changes, and what congress decides to do (despite there being a large public outcry against the act).

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