Tim O’Reilly on why SOPA and PIPA are bad for business

The supporters of SOPA, and it’s Senate sister, PIPA claim that it will protect content industries. Tim O’Reilly very effectively takes this argument apart.

At O’Reilly, we have published ebooks DRM-free for the better part of two decades. We’ve watched the growth of this market from its halting early stages to its robust growth today. More than half of our ebook sales now come from overseas, in markets we were completely unable to serve in print. While our books appear widely on unauthorized download sites, our legitimate sales are exploding. The greatest force in reporting unauthorized copies to us is our customers, who value what we do and want us to succeed. Yes, there is piracy, but our embrace of the internet’s unparalleled ability to reach new customers “though it may not be perfect still secures to authors more money than any other system that can be devised.”

These bills are designed to protect companies that are unable – or unwilling – to respond to current market demands. Any law that tries to protect unrealistic business models is, inherently, a bad law.

I am aware that SOPA has been shelved. But being shelved is not the same as being killed. And PIPA is still working its way through the Senate legislative process.

I said yesterday that this site is going dark on Wednesday, as is Pulpmovies, in support of the Stop SOPA campaign. This is still going to happen.


It turns out that SOPA has just been unshelved.

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