Sydney Lau 

What would put our freedoms in danger? The First Amendment states “Congress Shall make no Law Respecting an Establishment of Religion, or prohibiting the Free Exercise Thereof, or Assemble, and to Petition the Government for a Redress of Grievances.” Censorship is the suppression or prohibition of any parts of books, films, news, etc, that are considered obscene, poetically unacceptable or a threat to security. I disagree with censorship because it will stop companies from innovating products and services that individuals would have to pay for. Also it will take our human rights away and passing the bill SOPA will take freedom of the internet away.

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Piracy helps companies innovate products and services that individuals would have to pay for. Software is too expensive for young, hardworking students. The next generation will have a huge impact on the economic contribution, so it’s important the young individuals learn the software, but how can the individual learn the software if one cannot afford it. A young graphic designer working for a local designer agency said, “Software is just too expensive,” Students and young professionals such as Sarah pirate software they need in order to build up their professional skills and knowledge. Having experience with certain types of software is key to landing jobs in Singapore’s increasingly competitive job atmosphere. (“Online Piracy Is Not Harmful”) A company behind some of the most pirated software programs in the world finally caught on to the piracy problem and did something ingenious. Adobe introduced monthly subscriptions at reasonable prices for students, individuals, and businesses. Now there’s less of a need to pay $1,000+ on software that you subscribe to for less than $100 a month. (“Online Piracy Is Not Harmful”) if companies had prices for their products at a fair price then there would be no reason for customers to pirate products; Netflix is a good example of this.  Netflix: With 40 million global subscribers and growing, Netflix has succeeded despite piracy because it gives consumers what they want, “TV shows & movies anytime, anywhere. For one low monthly price.” At least to consumers outside of Singapore anyway. (“Online Piracy Is Not Harmful”)

Censorship will take our human rights away. There have been incidents where companies tried to make profits from Authoritarian governments by selling software and hardware. “We’ve seen cases where companies, products, and services were used as tools of oppression. A few years ago, the headlines were about companies turning over sensitive information about political dissidents. A company was shutting down the social networking accounts of activists in the midst of a political debate. Today’s news stories are about companies selling the hardware and software of repression to authoritarian governments. When companies sell surveillance equipment to the security agency of Syria or Iran or, in past times, [Libyan dictator Muammar] Qadhafi, there can be no doubt it will be used to violate rights.” – (Clinton) There have been many cases where citizens in different countries that have censorship were put into detention center for expressing their opinion. “In Syria, a blogger named Anas Maarawi was arrested on July 1st after demanding that President Asad to Leave. He still remains in detention.” (Clinton). On top of that, censorship would leave doors open for governments to over power. “Government could upend the current internet governance framework in a quest to increase their own control. Some governments use internet governance issues as a cover for publishing an agenda that would justify restating human rights apply online.” (Clinton)

Furthermore, passing the Bill “SOPA” would take our internet freedom away. SOPA will not contribute much success to stopping online fraud, but instead take away the core features of the internet. “Bill is designed to address the problem of online content fraud and counterfeiting, is fundamentally flawed because it targets search engines, Internet service providers, ad and payment networks-all of which are crucial to Internet functioning” – (Scola).  Not only would the bill likely do little to address the problem of online content fraud and counterfeiting, but it takes aim at the core features of the Internet that have contributed a great deal to the American economy. (“The Stop Online Piracy Act Threatens Internet Freedom and Does Not Protect Property Rights”) Private companies would abuse power with the bill SOPA in place. “that the bill gives the government and private companies “unprecedented powers to remove websites on the flimsiest of grounds.” The Electronic Frontier Foundation called the bill “a dangerous wish list.” The nonprofit Center for Democracy and Technology in Washington said SOPA would cause “broad collateral damage to freedom of expression and privacy.” (Ingram)

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Hollywood and the big record labels would oppose this. These companies claim that they’re taking “huge” losses, and believes the Bill SOPA should be passed, but a recent study conducted by Bart Cammaerts showed that was false. Hollywood achieved record-breaking global box office revenues of $35 billion USD [US dollars] in 2012, a 6% increase over 2011. Music: Declining sales of recorded music were offset by increasing revenue from live performances and growing digital revenues, including streaming services. In 2012, some 34% of revenue globally. In addition, worldwide sales of recorded music increased in 2012 for the first time since 1999.

Therefore, censorship will stop companies from innovating products and services that individuals would have to pay for, also will take our human rights away and passing the bill SOPA will take freedom of the internet away.  Piracy helps young, working, students develop new skills in the world to contribute to the economy. On top of that it’s also important to protect our human rights listed in the first Amendment, and lastly, placing the Bill “SOPA” would only take away our internet freedom by removing uniform resource locator removing (URL). By placing censorship law, those laws would take our rights away that are granted to us, lets fight to keep those!


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