I'll be honest: I struggle with where I stand on these issues. I can argue from both sides. But they are not even giving the other side a chance to speak or have a part in the decision making. I tend to favor less rules over more, especially if personal safety isn't involved. Because real life situations are typically pretty messy. There are no clear boundaries between this and that. if someone is being hurt and that can be avoided, that's good. But SOPA and this stuff is purely about control.
Yes, it's wrong for the people to steal this content. On the other hand, there's this argument:
ignore all the rules and legalities for a while. Life doesn't really work that way. it's convenient for discussion and exploring things academically, but life is different. it's messier, as I like to say. As someone mentioned here, we are living in times now where it's necessary for most people to have 2-3 incomes to support a family. Why is that? Well, a lot of the money represented by that hard work is quickly going away from those who are earning it. Mortgages, investments, college education, all the biggies. And that money gets played with (yes, that's the perfect word for it) in places that are inaccessible to most of us. Inaccessible not only physically, but also mentally. We have NO idea what is going on, which means we have no way to really think about it properly, and even if we could there would be nothing we could do about it. Are they following the rules? How would we know? I can assure you, they are not following rules...and they are getting away with it far more easily than even the 15 year old who is getting a megaupload file (which is easy).
So that's the money problem. So if you don't have a lot of money, getting an illegal file or two off of megaupload is a small way to feel like you can gain back some of that wealth. Now, is it ethical? I don't know, it's hard to say. It's not ethical taken as an isolated incident. But with that larger perspective, it gets more complicated. If we're going to talk theft, let's talk theft. Not just the kinds of theft that those with little money participate in. That's not about theft, then. That's about power and control.
but I hate how this is all talked about in black and white terms. If whoever was in charge of these decisions could allow a healthy discussion on both sides, i'm sure a nice, balanced agreement could come out of it. But good luck to that. As everyone pointed out, the politics of today are just getting more and more BS to the point where we don't know what anyone is talking about anymore. I sure hope 2012 changes things for the better. I almost feel like there is far too much awareness now for things to get worse. Like, if with all this awareness, the powerful try to get their way even more, I feel the people will come to a breaking point. So I'm hoping that the ultimate shift in 2012 will be one of the powerful conceding a little bit because there is too much awareness not to.
But I may be naive.