Combating piracy on the high web

Bryn Gallagher

It is so easy now, one click and you have it; stolen property now yours, you pirate. This thieving bliss may not last too long now with the Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act, or COICA, being approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee and being considered by the senate.

COICA is a censorship bill created by the government to stop piracy sites and the people who use them. It would do this mainly by creating a blacklist of site URLs which would be blocked if copy write infringement is “central” to the site. The act, if passed would give the attorney general the ability to censor sites which the courts have found no problems with.

It is about time we crack down on piracy, it is a huge problem that hurts thousands of people. It is stealing someone's work which means that those who created it and those who worked with them are not getting the pay they deserve. It is practically stealing someone's paycheck right out from under them.

Online piracy is not only hurting the music or movie industries, it is hurting the economy too. The Institute for Policy Innovation reported that piracy costs roughly $12.5 billion a year and causes the loss of about 71 thousand jobs. In these economic times we truly cannot afford these losses. Piracy costs the government too; if you do not pay for the music you do not pay any taxes, and if you do not pay the company they cannot pay taxes either.

This lack of tax revenue causes the government to lose an estimated $422 million annually. This adds to the already skyrocketing debt of over $13 trillion dollars which is constantly rising. If anyone needed all funds possible it is certainly the government. If you commit online piracy you contribute to the national debt.

As for my music I can proudly say that I have never pirated any of it. All the music I have I bought. Though I despise the $1.29 prices on iTunes and I sometimes regret the money I spent on an album I never listen to, I like knowing that I did not hurt anyone in getting it.

There are legal ways to get the music you want for less money. Websites such as Amazon have sales where you can get albums that are great but not as recent. If you wait a little while for the music that you want you can usually get it for less. If it is absolutely impossible for you to wait for a lower price ask for a gift-card for Christmas. That way you will get “free” music without hurting anyone.

The new bill is raising some questions among many voters. For instance the COICA is a censorship bill which would make it so that, potentially, the government could blacklist whatever sites they have problems with. The bill, however, does mention that targeted sites will only be those which are centered on copyright infringement.

We do not need to worry about an Orwellian society being created by the COICA. But there are some well loved sites that might get the axe if it is passed. You Tube, for instance, could potentially be blacklisted do to some of the uploaded content.

Despite this something needs to be done about online piracy. But we should stop this problem by just not using the piracy sites. If we refrain from stealing music there will be no need for the COICA and You Tube might be saved.

Essentially this problem comes down to us: if we keep stealing music on the Internet, maybe we do need some censorship.

Maybe the COICA is not the right thing for this nation, but maybe that is because we shouldn’t need it. We should be responsible enough to do the right thing. We all know that stealing is wrong and yet too many people feel it is fine on the Internet. If anything our economy and our nation needs your help, not you breaking the law. If you don’t like the COICA simply do the right thing.

What do you think?