As a software engineer-turned-blogger, following the technology industry has always been one of my main hobbies. While my wife may care about who is walking down the red carpet, I’m tuned in to the Amazon Web Services live broadcast of the release of its DynamoDB product.
If you’ve been to WikiPedia or Google’s home page today you might have noticed that they are different than what you are used to see. They are trying to warn you of current legislation that may change the way that Americans have access to information on the Internet. This legislation is commonly in the form of two proposed bills, SOPA and PIPA.
Before I get into SOPA and PIPA, let me be the first to say that I’m not a politics person. You might be able to convince me that Claire Danes shows up in a white dress with a black netty thing around it and people pretend it is noteworthy in some way. In short, I tune it out.
I tried to tune out this SOPA and PIPA for awhile too. However, it simply doesn’t seem to go away. So I decided to read a little more into it. On the outset it seems to have noble attentions – eliminate access to offshore websites that enable people to pirate movies, music, and other digital content. If that’s all it allowed, you wouldn’t see Wikipedia or Google take the actions that they are taking. The problem is that it is written in such a way that in the words of Harvard Law professor, Lawrence Tribe, “an entire Web site containing tens of thousands of pages could be targeted if only a single page were accused of infringement.”
And that is what is concerning to me. Note that the wording is that just the accusal of single page could take down an entire website. It doesn’t even seem to need to be proven in court.
So what does this have to do with Lazy Man and Money? While most of my posts are relatively controversy-free, I’m increasing becoming aware of the financial damage that multi-level marketing scams are causing consumers. Most of them know that they are scams and refuse to take an honorable role and address their critics. Instead MonaVie, one of the MLMs I have written about, has threatened to sue me. When I pointed out that they have no legal grounds, MonaVie decided to game Google to ‘Combat Negativity’ and ‘Manage what People See on the Internet’. It worked for awhile, but Google caught up to them and my article is with all the information is well represented there as of this writing.
My fear is that SOPA and PIPA could be used by one of these entities to shut down my entire business because a couple of companies with high-priced lawyers find something (or perhaps even plant something) that they can convince a judge is infringing. As Wikipedia says in their protest today, “Small sites won’t have sufficient resources to defend themselves.”
I know it may sound a little far-fetched. Perhaps I’m reaching. If so, it might be because just yesterday an MLM company, Jusuru, asked me to take down my post about them. In any event, I want to be pro-active and make sure that no legitimate websites (especially mine!) become the collateral damage of this potential legislation.
P.S. For those having difficulty with coping with Wikipedia’s outage today, Google’s cached search results are your friend.