THE CONSUMER RULES

Source : The Peak Magazine | View Original

Is the Stop Online Piracy Act, or SOPA, a bad idea?
This serial technology entrepreneur certainly thinks so.

Imagine a situation where uploading a video, sharing links or clicking ‘like’ can be deemed criminal behaviour. Sounds ridiculous? But this is what may happen if Sopa is passed. The consequences are really onerous – it will censor the net, force web services to shut down and discourage start-ups from emerging.

Laws are usually made to protect the interests of the people, but Sopa very clearly doesn’t. I see it as a more of a political move – something that is lobbied by specific enterprises or rather, media companies in the US. And the end result is that it will benefit a few entities rather than the masses.

To me, that’s really against the spirit of the Internet, which is about the sharing of knowledge and content in a free, open way. Many of us consume online content in a manner that would be deemed wrong under Sopa, but we don’t do it intentionally. We do it because it is convenient. I’m sure that we will pay for the services if we have to, especially if there is value delivered.

Media companies want to play in the digital realm, but they want to play on their terms. Instead of adapting to the Internet, they are resisting it. If they embrace it and change their business models, then this consumer behaviour of sharing will no longer be an issue. I do agree that there is a potential need for some kind of rights management and a platform for new business models.

For example, what Apple has done with its App Store is responsible. They have in place a distribution model where customers get to enjoy the content, whole developers get rewarded for their work. Now that’s what I call a win-win situation for both customer and company.

-ANUJ KHANNA SOHUM, Founder and Chairman, Affle