BitTorrent and SOPA (or SOPA and BitTorrent)

When I told you about YouHaveDownloaded.com in this story about the marketing genius that is comedian Louis CK a few weeks back, I didn’t realize we’d be getting to pick on the United States Congress. Turns out that our friends in Washington DC, the very folks who though SOPA was such a great idea, have been illegally downloading copyrighted works from the Internet using BitTorrent.

Shocker.

On the other hand, when I told you about BitTorrent, SOPA, MegaUpload, and Piracy, it did occur to me that there might be an SEO angle to the story. As you can see above, it turns out I was right; Google sees us as #6 for all spellings/misspellings of the phrase “bittorrent sopa”, despite the subject having been written about in many places, most way larger than Answer Guy Central. And that’s what Search Engine Optimization can do.

If you like, check for yourself. Search Google for the phrase “bittorrent SOPA” by clicking here. (by the way; this is as of January 23 2012. Our results will go up—or down— over time depending on how we pursue SEO for “bittorent SOPA” moving forward).

Regardless of what you think of Search Engine Optimization in general or me pointing out how good we are at SEO in particular, (and feel free to contact me about SEO), the story is this whole MegaUpload thing.

Oh yeah. And the hypocrisy of The United States Congress trying to pass laws like SOPA when they’re a bunch of BitTorrent-using software and media pirates, too. This story is about that, too.

Quick re-cap:

  1. You may be a pirate, and not even realize it.
  2. BitTorrent (and MegaUpload) have legitimate purposes. Of course, MegaUpload is gone now.
  3. While SOPA is currently on hold, the United States Congress is looking for ways to control how you use the Internet.

As I said last week, protecting the rights of copyright holders is one place where I don’t really have a problem with our government trying to make laws that “control” the Internet. And hypocrisy is part of life and all around us, so while I do want to take the opportunity to poke fun at Congress for being copyright infringers, I’m happy to see Congress members fall into their own traps, later.

But I wish our lawmakers had a clue what they were talking about and doing. BitTorrent is a cool technology, and useful in legitimate ways. And expecting hosts to act as police proactively is just wrong, and a huge business burden.

So call it SOPA, PIPA, or whatever it comes back as; when the United States Congress starts passing “anti-piracy” laws forcing business change in areas like how we share files on the Internet, we need to tell them to back down.

Or at least pay attention.

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