“They want to change the way the internet works forever!” was the battle cry last week as the internet rose up in defiance of the Stop Online Piracy Act and the Protect IP Act. For now these bills are shelved.
But yes, that’s quite true. In fact they DO want to curtail counterfeit goods, credit card fraud and chiefly, copyright infringement on the internet. And they will, but not with these two bills. For now the internet remains comparatively lawless but new legislation will evolve from this.
Several sites went dark in protest with Google leading the way. “Don’t let them censor the internet!” demanded Google.
Then again, Google monetizes traffic---pure traffic--- and they want to keep monetizing unlawful goods and behaviors online as they currently do. So they lied. They said this was about “censorship” and “free speech”, as if free movies, music and books was the constitutional equivalent of our precious freedom of speech. It’s not hard to spread a lie when you also control the platform.
So why does Google NOT want to be held accountable to the illegal behaviors they monetize? Because illegal behavior is big bucks online and they don’t care if your business is being ransacked as long as they can make a few ad bucks against the ransacking. So here’s two things to consider.
1) Back in August Google was forced to pay a half a billion dollar fine for running ads against an illegal Canadian pharma website. They could have chosen not to cash in on this, but they’d made so much money against the traffic in advance of the takedown they paid a fine to make it all go away.
2) Just in the United States alone “Domestic production and consumption of counterfeit and pirated products costs our economy $215 billion annually. (Frontier Economics, Estimating the Global Economic and Social Impacts of Counterfeiting and Piracy, February 2011.)”
Anyone who thinks that the American government will shrug and walk away from $215 billion a year must be getting a lot of free music and movies and books online, and they don’t want that to change. But it inevitably will.
The US Constitution has been amended 27 times, including 10 in our Bill of Rights. Any network regulated by government and brought to us by the corporations like TIMEWarner being ransacked aren’t going to put up with this forever.