As you probably know, and this is already happening in Europe; publishers, music companies, and film companies want to have websites pulled down, ISPs fined and/or shut down if they are found to have copyrighted material on them. As a writer, this sounds like a good idea to me, because I can’t tell you how often my articles are stolen, and I find them somewhere on the Internet with someone else’s name attached. Yet, I see another problem to all of this, and I’d like to explain it to you.
First, many publishers are angry because they are finding their books reproduced, republished, and even posted on the Internet, and therefore they lose out on the revenue. You certainly can’t blame them for being upset, and as I explained as a writer I can’t either. However, if they are allowed to fill out a form with some secret Internet committee, and that group can go and pull down a website, they we’re going to have huge problems in the future. Anyone that has an Internet forum, blog network, or anything like that cannot possibly police every single person that posts a blog, article, or comment. Do you see that point?
Now then, I’d like to bring a case in point because there was an interesting article in the Wall Street Journal on November 8, 2011. The article was titled; “Spy Thriller: an Instant Classic-Vanishes amid Plagiarism Charges-Publisher Recalls Novel after Passages Discovered Mimicking Bond, James Bond,” by Jeffrey A Trachtenberg. Okay so, can you see the problem here? Here is a company that sells books and e-books, and it found out one of its authors had plagiarized a spy novel. Worse, the company sold 8000 copies before anyone noticed. In fact, the article stated;
“Our reviewer didn’t pick up anything suspicious, and a reader commenting on an online forum devoted to James Bond noted the similarity in the material. The online forum comment poster was able to identify at least 13 novels from which the material was similar, using Google books search engine.”
Well, there you have it. Should that publisher’s website be shut down, and taken off-line for copyright violations? Fair is fair, the publishers seem to want to be able to control other people’s ISPs and websites, and have the power to turn them off. Are you beginning to see the problems we are going to have in the future with these laws? I surely do, and I fear that it may cause less information to end up online, and allow others to control the flow of information for their own personal gain.
Having control to turn off ISPs and websites based on copyright law could turn into a can of worms and give far too much power to those who would use it corruptly. Indeed I hope you will please consider all this and think on it.