They are two legislations in the US house of representatives that
Target copyright and piracy laws.
They will implement harsh penalties as a punishment for infringement of the acts.
They are supported by corporations such as Disney etc..
On the other hand, there are major online companies which are against the legislations such as Facebook and Wikipedia.
Why is it wanted? Well, according to Professor Clay Shirky (who studies the affects of the internet on society) says “The 20th century was a great time to be a media company because the thing you had on your side was scarcity. Technologies moved on, as technologies do. Towards the end of the 20th century that scarcity slowly eroded. When new tools came along it turned out we also like to produce, and we like to share. This freaked the old media industries out.’
In the 20th Century, the effects theory suggested that The media, implemented a message, which the masses consumed.
But, In today’s media society, it could be suggested that the media and the masses have just as much production as each other, because of the internet.
It could be suggested that the old media want to regain the control of the masses they had in the 20th Century.
The Chicago school of regulation suggests that we are regulated by Law, Social norms, the Market, and Architecture. Through the growth of the internet we now have the architecture allowing us the ability to download, file share, interact and copy. We are also accustom to a market where we do not pay for content. And finally it has become a social norm to download, file share, interact and copy. This has resulted in the American government attempting to use Law to prevent this from happening.
So what does this constitute for personal freedom?
Well the Imperialism theories suggest that America has ‘dominance of some nations over others’ and ‘imposes their cultural values on other nations.’
Herbert Schiller said that ‘sum of the processes by which a society is brought into the modern world system, and how its dominating stratum is attracted, pressured, forced, and sometimes bribed into shaping social institutions to correspond to, or even to promote, the values and structures of the dominant center of the system.’ He used the example of a Coca-Cola advert tune ‘I’d like to teach the world to sing, in perfect harmony / I’d like to buy you all a coke, to keep it company.’ He would perhaps suggest that these legislations are a strategy for the American government to inflict its nations ideologies across the internet and the world.
In contrast to this, the Liberal account of History may suggest that our technology has been developing towards the liberal free. They say that the people in control are an enemy of media freedom, therefore by introducing these legislations our media freedom would be reduced.
Creator of the world wide webb, sir timberners-lee gave his creation away to the world for free. This was his belief as part of the Hippy and counter culture of the 1960’s. The internet is a communication medium which allows for the first time the communication of many to many. In chosen time, on a global scale. (media and society) The internet is above all else, a cultural creation.
Well the Technological determinist point of view may suggest that the innovation in technology drives social change and change in media practices. Since the web has been so much a part of our lives the technology has changed our culture. It has also changed the way many of the media industries do things. For example, newspapers give content away for free online and musicians are releasing ‘pay as much as you like songs’. Recently most people, especially the younger generation now expect content for free, especially online. It has become part of our social normality not to pay for things. This innovation in technology has completely altered the way we live our lives.
Many may suggest this change has normalised illegal downloading and sharing online. Lee Siegel (author against the machine) said “I despise wikipedia, I loath wikipedia, I’m appalled by wikipedia. I use it throughout the day.”These legislations will not effect our current freedom in the real world. They will be ensuring our actions online are in parallel with the ‘real’ world.
The online disinhibition effect says that people behave differently online because they have a façade therefore feel anonymous. This was reflected in the London riots in August 2011, when masked individuals broke the law because they felt they had no identity. Similarly this is happening in online as people feel it’s a virtual and therefore an unreal world. On the other hand, personal freedom always has it’s limits. There is need for some regulation to keep order.
Its natural as part of culture to have regulation and therefore a form of hierarchy. Pierre Bourdiour said ‘Culture provides the very grounds for human communication and interaction; it is also a source of domination.’‘All symbolic systems’ ‘help establish and maintain social hierarchies.’ ‘Culture also mediates practices by connecting individuals and groups to institutionalized hierarchies.’ This suggests that we, the masses, need someone in control. Therefore we are never really free because we always have a hierachy. New media technologies reinforce relations of cultural capital, hierarchies, and distinction while enabling social movements.
So, although the online world is currently unregulated it is debatable whether we are ever truly free. It could be suggested that by introducing these legislations there will be an element of fairness for the institutions and the masses. In other words a middle ground.
So how do they plan to enforce the acts? They propose to remove any links that direct to websites that contain illegal content. However critics say that you can still access the domain names by typing in the IP address.
In which case, this on going battle to prevent theft on the internet does not have a simple answer. The internet is just too vast to control. A police officer from Metropolitan high technology unit said ‘We should police the Internet, but many high tech crime officers believe this is impossible” “When we shut down one website, two more pop up.” Maybe we need to balance the practical with the ideological and accept the internet is uncontrollable.
What do PIPA and SOPA constitute for personal freedom?
By Charlotte Jones, Paige Hastings, Luke Hawker & Melisa Muharrem
Why is it wanted?Professor Clay Shirky, “The 20th century was a great time to be a media company” “scarcity” “Technologies moved on, as technologies do.” “we also like to produce, and we like to share”
According to the effects theory:The Media ----- The Message ------ The Masses
Why do America want toregulate?Chicago School of Regulation1.Law2. Social Norms Architecture – We now how the ability to download, file share, interact, copy.3. Market Market – We are accustomed to not paying4. Architecture for content anymore, especially the younger generation. Social Norms – It has become socially acceptable to download, file share, interact, copy. Law – Now the American government wants to step in now the other forms of regulation have not worked.
What does this constitute forPersonal Freedom?
ImperialismNeo-imperialism„Dominance of some nations over others by means of unequalconditions of economic exchange.‟ Cultural imperialism „Countries imposed their cultural values on other nations.‟
Herbert Schiller „society is brought into the modern world… …attracted, pressured, forced, and sometimes bribed… …the values and structures of the dominant center‟“I‟d like to teach the world to sing, in perfect harmony / I‟d like to buy you all a coke, to keep it company.”
Liberal account of History„developing towards the liberal free.‟ „The people in control are an enemy of media freedom.‟
Sir Tim Berners-lee. Hippy Counter culture 1960‟s „The internet is a communication medium…‟„…In chosen time, on a global scale. The internet is above all else, a cultural creation.‟
Technological Determinist ...innovation in technology drives social change……It has also changed the way many of the media industries dothings… …the younger generation now expect content for free… …This innovation in technology has completely altered the way we live our lives…
Normalisation„This change has normalised illegaldownloading and sharing‟Lee Siegel “I despise Wikipedia, I loathWikipedia, I‟m appalled by Wikipedia. I useit throughout the day.”These legislations will not change our „real world‟ freedom.
The Online Disinhibition effect Anonymity You wouldn‟t steel from a shop London Riots„…online as people feel it‟s a virtual and therefore an unrealworld.‟
Cultural HierarchiesPierre Bourdieu„Culture provides the very grounds for human communication and interaction;it is also a source of domination.‟„All symbolic systems‟ „help establish and maintain social hierarchies.‟ „Culturealso mediates practices by connecting individuals and groups toinstitutionalized hierarchies.‟
Raymond Williams„In a market driven system control of new technology willbe dominated by large media conglomerates.‟ „cultural capital, hierarchies, and distinction‟ Channeling Cookies Limit our free choice
BibliographyBurton, Graeme, Media and Society (England, Open University Press, 2005).Galeota, Julia, „Cultural Imperialism: An American Tradition‟, (2004),http://www.thehumanist.org/humanist/articles/essay3mayjune04.pdf; [accessed 19January 2012].Higgins, John, Raymond Williams – Literature, Marxism and cultural materialism (London,Routledge, 1999).Kaszor, Daniel, „Why is Wikipedia offline and what is SOPA?‟, (17 January 2012),http://news.nationalpost.com/2012/01/17/why-is-there-going-to-be-a-wikipedia-blackout-and-what-is-sopa/; [accessed 25 January 2012].Leaning, Marcus, „Introduction to the module – Media Histories‟, Media in the 21st Century,16 January 2012.Manning, Paul, „Introducing Media Studies‟, Key Concepts, 26 September 2011.
BibliographyManning, Paul, „New Media and the Crisis or Regulation‟, Key Concepts, 21 November 2011.Naughton, John, „Who‟s right and wrong in the great war to protect freedom on the internet?‟,The Observer, 22 January, 2012.Shirky, Clay, „Why SOPA is a bad idea‟, (January 2012),http://www.ted.com/talks/lang/en/defend_our_freedom_to_share_or_why_sopa_is_a_bad_idea.html; [accessed 19 January 2012].Surler, John, „The Online Disinhibition Effect‟, CyberPsychology & Behavior, Volume 7,Number 3 (2004).Swartz, David, Culture and Power: The Sociology of Pierre Bourdieu (America, University ofChicago Press, 1998).Virtual Revolution, Program Two – Enemy of the State, Dr Aleks Krotoski, BBC (2010).