Posts Tagged ‘SOPA’


Friday, January 18th, 2013


Today marks the one year anniversary of the protest against SOPA and PIPA.  Around this time last year, all of the Internet was abuzz with conversation surrounding these cryptic, and yet very ominous, acronyms. (more…)

What SOPA Means for Marketers

Wednesday, January 18th, 2012


Today Wikipedia, Reddit, WordPress, the Cheezburger Network and many other websites have all blacked out their pages in protest of SOPA & PIPA. These two bills are aimed to eliminate piracy on the internet but in turn are receiving negative backlash, being referred to as “censorship” and “the death of the internet”. People are discussing what these bills mean for them on a personal level, but very few are discussing what this means for the marketing industry.

Over the past few years we have entered a digital marketing revolution. Social media marketing, search engine marketing, display advertising, affiliate marketing, email marketing, and digital public relations now make up large portions of many advertisers budgets. If SOPA passes, this will all change.

Here are some potential effects of SOPA on marketers:



SOPA is a huge threat to the existence of social media. While many people claim that large social networks such as Twitter and Facebook are too big to fail, many smaller platforms that have recently excelled in the social world are destined to be shutdown.

One website that is speculated to have major issues moderating SOPA regulations is Tumblr. Tumblr is commonly known to be full of copyright-infringed content such as videos, photos, and of course, animated gifs. Many companies such as Oscar de la Renta and NPR have set-up brilliant Tumblr accounts that have brought a new dimension to their brands. If SOPA passes, it is a good chance that marketers must say goodbye to their Tumblr accounts.

Other social networks often used for marketing that are in jeopardy include Flickr, Vimeo, SoundCloud and Pinterest.



If SOPA passes, user-generated content will be taboo. Companies and marketers alike will be terrified to allow or utilize user-generated content, out of fear of users posting copyrighted content, making the company’s website liable for such infringement. Currently, user-generated content is responsible for some of the most valuable and intriguing content for brands, particularly on social media.

Facebook has become one of the most prolific platforms for user-generated content. If SOPA does not completely eliminate Facebook, it will most definitely make marketers weary about allowing users to post content to their Facebook walls or running campaigns that encourage such activity.

For instance, Skittles is currently running a campaign called “Fame the Rainbow” where they pick photos that users have posted on the Skittles Facebook Page and add them to their profile picture and make them the “Rainbro of the Week”. Many of these images contain the Skittles logo, packaging, and slogans. If SOPA were to pass as it is now, this campaign would technically be an infringement despite the fact that Skittles is encouraging its users to use trademark material. Facebook could be shut down, Skittles’ Facebook Page could be removed, and the user could be imprisoned for five years. Those are the worst-case scenarios.



Many of the websites where marketers spend their display advertising dollars could inevitably be extinct.

YouTube is one of the websites that is highly threatened by SOPA. A large majority of the content that is uploaded infringes on copyrights, despite efforts to moderate such activity. If they are unable to maintain the restrictions placed by the 1998 Digital Millennium Copyright Act, the current copyright law, then it is doubtful they will be able to maintain the standards necessary to avoid being removed from the internet. YouTube is a major player in display advertising. Marketers spend over $300 million on YouTube per year. Where will all of these advertising dollars go?

Four out of the top five most viewed websites on the internet have actively voiced their hatred for the bill: Google, Facebook, YouTube and Yahoo. It is no secret that they don’t like it because they believe it threatens the existence of their companies. In an unlikely world where all of these websites become obsolete, there will be over $2,000,000,000 in misplaced display advertising dollars.

Of course, these are all hypothetical situations. Be weary of the implications that SOPA & PIPA may have on you and your career. If these legislations do pass, the marketing industry is in store for a major overhaul.

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Everything you need to know about SOPA

Friday, January 13th, 2012


What is SOPA?

On January 24, 2012 The Stop Online Piracy Act, most commonly referred to as SOPA, will be brought to Congress along with the Protect IP Act, or PIPA. SOPA will allow copyright holders to seek court orders against websites accused of facilitating copyright infringement.

This bill would make the streaming of unauthorized copyrighted material a crime with a penalty of up to five years in jail. Websites prosecuted of violation could be barred from using payment facilitators such as PayPal, blocked from search engines, and requiring Internet providers to block access to the site.

Much of the language included in SOPA is very vague and potentially harmful to those who do not completely understand the implications of the bill.


Who supports and opposes SOPA?
There has been much controversy surrounding the supporters and opponents of the act. The supporters mostly consist of traditional media outlets, associated organizations, and brands that heavily rely on these outlets. The opponents are majorly tech brands and social media websites.

The largest controversy around SOPA supporters occurred on December 22, 2011 when Go Daddy stated that it supported SOPA. This prompted users across the web to boycott the domain hosting, resulting in the loss of 16,000 domains, including all Wikimedia domains. Soon after, Go Daddy rescinded its support.

Here is a brief list of some of the most prominent SOPA Supporters and Opponents:
SOPA Supporters:

  • ABC
  • CBS
  • ESPN
  • Viacom
  • Comcast
  • Disney
  • MasterCard
  • Marvel
  • Estée Lauder
  • Nike
  • L’Oreal
  • Pfizer
  • Scholastic
  • Visa


SOPA Opponents:

  • Google
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Flickr
  • Yahoo!
  • LinkedIn
  • Huffington Post
  • YouTube
  • Amazon
  • Ebay
  • Wikipedia
  • PayPal
  • Blogger


Many Internet companies have spoken about a coordinated blackout protest. So far, both Reddit and The Cheezburger Network have both commited to blackout for 12 hours on January 18th. There has been talk about Google, Facebook, Wikipedia and WordPress’s involvement in this blackout but there has been no official statement.


Why support or oppose?

Yet, is it possible that SOPA is not all bad? SOPA’s primary goal is protect intellectual property, and in turn protect jobs and revenues for those who legally own such property. Many claim that this will actually help American jobs in the long run because more individuals will be encouraged to generate new writings, research, product and services. This concept of job creation is debatable at best. Yet, what is not debatable is that many organizations that are threatened by piracy employ millions of people.

Another argument in support of SOPA is the protection against counterfeit drugs. Pfizer spokesman, John Clark explains that consumers cannot distinguish the difference between legitimate and counterfeit online pharmacies. This portion of the law would support laws by the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act and the Controlled Substance Act that make it illegal to ship prescription drugs from foreign pharmacies.


It is said that SOPA is an act of censorship and is the death of the internet as we know it. Critics say that it is a true violation of the American spirit, a major violation of the first amendment and a “cure that is worse than the disease”.

SOPA would have drastic effects on everyone’s favorite social networks. Websites such as Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Wikipedia, and Tumblr will have to monitor every item posted on their website to ensure that none of these posts contain copyright infringement. For example, YouTube could be shut down if someone uploads a pirated music video. It is inevitable that many of these websites will fail if SOPA is passed.

Critics of the bill believe that it is a large threat to all web-related business. It is also said to greatly threaten the involvement of venture capitalists because of increased hesitance due to possible legal liabilities. In an interview done by Booz & Company, 100% of venture capitalists and angel investors said they would stop funding digtal companies if SOPA passes. Between the websites that will be shut down due to violations, the websites that will be unable to survive the increased cost of business due to regulating all content, and the debilitating nature of beginning a new web based business, SOPA could be the devastating end to the tech industry.


In conclusion
None of us can be sure exactly what will result from this bill on the off chance that is passed. It is believed that if the bill passes through congress, that the White House will not approve it.

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