Illegal file sharing has gotten to a point where it is no longer looked down upon. The majority of the music downloaded is in fact done illegally (63% illegally to 37% legally says a study done by the RIAA). While this activity is technically a crime no one looks around them and sees themselves and their peers as criminals. However, this may change in the near future due to a bill proposed to the House of Representatives on October 26, 2011. SOPA or the Stop Online Piracy Act increase the amount of crackdowns on file sharing sites and raise the punishment for certain offenses to the point where certain file sharing related crimes could land you in jail with a felony.
The reason for this bill would be to eradicate the so-called immoral behavior that music piracy and file sharing is. The people behind this bill believe that by making piracy a more serious offense they will be able to stop what they believe to be theft from artists around the world.
While at first this may seem like a good idea there are many things the SOPA doesn’t take into account. For instance, websites such as legalsounds.com make it possible to “legally download songs for around 7cents each. They do this by hosting their site in Russia where file sharing is legal as long as money is exchanged “Yes it’s legal, but not moral. Legalsounds does not pay royalties to the artists who make the music that they sell. They steal from the artists and make a profit for themselves. Do you really want to support a company that does that? So what if it’s legal according to the laws of Russia. Since when do the laws of Russia determine what is morally right or wrong? One common argument in many of these comments is that music is not worth paying for.”(songboom.com) So by putting these laws into place SOPA overlooks one of the Internet’s largest strengths, the ability to adapt.