If there was one hot topic widely discussed by the new media last week, it was anti SOPA and PIPA protests all over the web. SkaDate Dating Software fully supports the sentiment, since the passing of these controversial bills can severely cripple the Internet in general, and majorly harm the online dating industry in particular. I’m going to explain why.
Let’s quickly get the terminology out of the way for those not in the loop. The Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) is a bill currently moving through the US Congress, which claims to “promote prosperity, creativity, entrepreneurship, and innovation by combating the theft of US property, and for other purposes.”
Sounds good, doesn’t it? Well, in reality it will do none of that – it will not stop piracy, and will definitely not promote creativity and entrepreneurship. In fact, it has the potential to break the very fabric of the Internet, and put all of us out of business in the process.
Our industry connects people by giving them space and tools to communicate with each other, so they can find out whether they are a compatible match. SkaDate dating script, just like other dating solutions, does this by allowing people to express their creativity, share content they like, and show emotions in comments, chats, blogs and forums.
Under SOPA, any website even slightly suspected of being capable of encouraging copyright infringement can get blocked in the United States.
You can see that with a law like SOPA, any attempt at sharing a song, video, cover art, or even mentioning it on your dating site (or anywhere else on the Internet for that matter) can and will be interpreted as copyright infringement, and will be considered as a reason for blocking your site in the US, or for taking the matter to court.
Moreover, this situation is bound to lead to all sorts of unintentional but critical mistakes, as well as unfair practices. Where’s the guarantee that a malicious competitor wont pose as a member and bring your entire portal down by sharing some questionable content, and then reporting you to the authorities? The law is the law and they’ll have to react in accordance with the set of clumsily worded, but extremely strict regulations.
Another ridiculous but horrifying repercussion of SOPA deals directly with revenue streams. Say, one member on your dating site reported another as a possible copyright infringer, thus bringing your entire network, with all of its members, under heat.
With SOPA in place, your site suddenly becomes Wikileaks – all payment providers (PayPal included) will immediately sever their ties with you. Oh, and don’t forget that you will be censored from showing up in search results (goodbye affiliate programs). In addition, your now invisible and profit-less website can be actually shut down for five days pending review of the charges. Imagine what that will do to your membership.
No video streaming, no media sharing, censored comments and other user generated content, constant threat of losing your payment partners, lessened security, etc. Do you believe this is a good environment for online dating business?
There is another interesting nuance here. You see, the bill proposes the blocking of websites’ domain names, leaving their IP addresses open. So, say, when Google.com eventually gets blocked (and it will, for showing obscure but potentially illegal search results), you can still access it by typing 126.96.36.199 into your address bar.
Well, guess what? Real pirates, who are supposedly targeted by this bill know this stuff and can easily bypass it. They will not be harmed in the slightest by this minor inconvenience. Can you guess who’ll be harmed? That’s right – regular consumers and entrepreneurs.
If you think I’m drawing a way too grim of a picture, that’s because it is. You know the situation just got serious, when the mighty Wikipedia joined the global protest of SOPA and PIPA (Protect IP Act), and blacked out its English content for the entire day on January 19. Other major companies opposing the bills include Google, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, eBay, Reddit, etc.
Make no mistake, SOPA and PIPA have nothing to do with combating piracy. This is a blatant attempt at Internet censorship, and giving a certain group of corporate representatives too much control and power which they will inevitably abuse. We have to stop SOPA.