Remember back in December and January when we were all screaming for the death of the Stop Online Piracy Act and Protect IP Act? It felt pretty good to rally behind a cause and use the internet for good. But sadly, we might have to pick up our pitchforks once again down the line.
In an interview with Mashable, internet law expert Lawrence Lessig said the fight against SOPA and other bills like it isn’t close to be over. Lessig, a Roy L. Furman Professor of Law and Leadership at Harvard Law School and director of the Edward J. Safra Center for Ethics at Harvard University, is one of the world’s leading internet experts. He has also voiced his advocacy of internet freedom and net neutrality.
Lessig said the fight against SOPA was just a battle in a war of larger scale. He added that the ideas laid out in SOPA and PIPA can reappear at anytime under another bill. This is something that happens all the time in legislatures. One bill will fail and after the dust has settled, it will resurface under the guise of another name.
Mashable asked Lessig if he thinks children growing up with today’s internet will experience a “reinvented” web. He responded with, “Yeah, I do. I think as people experience code-based control of sites like the iTunes Music Store or Facebook and begin to take for granted the way these controls work, they think less about how things could be different.
“We need to fight against this lack of awareness. Inside these entities — like Facebook — there have to be much stronger organizational methods [that let] people push this idea. These systems that are controlling behavior have been baked into the tech, and they could be baked differently.
“I think the resistance to this will continue to be grassroots — organizations like the Electronic Frontier Foundation have been great in facilitating that.”
Let’s hope that the grassroots movement that Lessig refers to is just as strong as the anti-SOPA one was. The internet is a great place, when open and free. We cannot risk broad censoring of the web similar to what SOPA and PIPA proposed, which is why we need to keep our eyes peeled on future legislation.