Monday, February 13, 2012

The Open Act- Can we really close the doors on digital bootleggers?

In his Blog, "Steal this Column", Bill Keller talks about online media piracy. With all of the technological advances in our world there is no way for legislation to keep up, monitor or successfully regulate the Internet. As one of the main places that the average person can access media that would otherwise be off limits to them the internet poses a formidable question of whether or not we can actually regulate its vast space of content.
Besides the content that is being stolen, the other issue is the people who are doing the stealing. Is it worth going after the every day teenager who downloads movies or the offshore parasite websites who provide the teens with their illegal content? We also have to look at what we see as stealing. People justify their use of illegal content every day with things like "Why would I pay that much money to see that movie when I can go to a website and see it for free?" Is there really a solution to this? Could we ever entice people enough to pay money for media when they know they can get it for free elsewhere?
In analyzing the web for it's content, Keller looks at the "Open Act" which would "give new powers to the International Trade Commission to issue temporary restraining orders against sites that specialize in selling bootleg copies of books, movies, TV shows and so on, and to cut off their access to the online payment processors and ad-placing services that fund them" (page 2, Keller) This means that websites would be limited in the content that they can actually give to the average internet user. However, in assessing the Act, Keller points out the numerous loop holes but says that this is a starting point. It is an initial attempt at trying to manage the content of the web, how it is provided and the ways that people access media for free. Will we ever successful be able to provide legislature that monitors the Internet or is it already to vast of a space to ever conceivably be controlled?

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