Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Imagine This Scenario...

A man robs a woman of her purse and escapes immediate notice. He looks, acts, and sounds like anyone else. A few blocks away, he hails a taxi. The driver, who has no idea that this guy is a purse thief, picks him up, takes him ten miles away, and the robber completely evades capture. Eventually the authorities figure out that the criminal took that particular taxi and fine the driver a thousand dollars for picking up the criminal.

Is this fair or right? Law enforcement, in such a case, has pushed its job off onto a private enterprise that cannot spare time and effort to do it.

Of course not. However, under pressure from the entertainment industry, Congress is considering a law that would punish Google and other search engines in the same fashion when they unknowingly link people to pirating websites. Google responded with a campaign to raise awareness, while Wikipedia shut itself off for a day in protest.

Online pirating is a real problem that cuts into the profits of hard-working businesses. It must be halted by law enforcement. Pushing the task of identifying criminals off onto a business, then punishing them for not knowing who is, or is not a criminal, is foolish in the extreme.

The Stop Online Piracy Act needs stopped.

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