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Will the Open Web stay open?

They're watching.
They're watching.
Photo © 2014, Joshua Adams

The Internet, as seen today, is an object of immense debate in some circles of life. It houses 67% of the world's business transactions and serves as the most-used social gathering zone and line of communications, even going so far as to replace the phone for many people.

Since 2006, online business dealing has tripled, quadrupled, and then increased somewhat to the point that now the internet is the second most-used method for retailing merchandise both physical and digital. Because of this, companies such as PayPal, Google, Yahoo, Ebay and various Online Banks have turned quite a profit in the past few years.

Going mostly unregulated, online business has done well, but in the past few years a new surge of online software piracy has surfaced, prompting the US government to step in and attempt to pass new regulations and penalties for the illegal streaming of copyrighted content.

On October 26th 2011, US Representative Lamar S. Smith introduced and attempted to pass the Stop Online Piracy Act, or SOPA. When introduced, many thought that SOPA was the one-stop solution to online piracy, and many others thought it merely represented the US government's naivety concerning the subject and their desire to censor the internet. The bill did not pass, much to the delight of many small business owners.

If SOPA had passed, censorship and injustice would be rampant throughout the web, and you can be certain that pirates would still be getting away with their digital loot and laughing at the rest of us for playing by SOPA's rulebook.

Ultimately, there is no finite cure for online piracy. When people can move anonymously through the web they will grab hacked downloads even if they're deemed illegal, and taking anonymity away from users is an infringement of their rights. I would say to all web owners out there, the security of your content is in your hands and none other's.

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