Keller @ Large: Solution To Online Piracy? Stop Stealing

BOSTON (CBS) – Did you miss Wikipedia yesterday? And Reddit?

And all the other websites and blogs that went dark in protest of two bills now on deck in Washington that would force search engines to block public access to intellectual property pirates, web sites that illegally resell everything from toys to movies and music?

Listen to Jon’s commentary:

Even before yesterday’s blackout, web world had barraged Washington with so many phone calls and e-mails, the White House and the Republicans in Congress were tripping over each other as they backed away from SOPA – the Stop Online Piracy Act – and PIPA, the Protect IP Act, the Senate version of SOPA.

(By the way, full disclosure, our parent corporation, CBS, is one of many major media companies that supports the legislation.)

And beyond all the usual finger-pointing and posturing, the truth is both sides make a good point.

The property theft that occurs when someone takes a product that doesn’t belong to them and sells it or gives it away on the web is the source of billions of dollars worth of economic damage.

But do YOU want big corporations to be empowered to dictate which web sites you can look at or even talk about online?

I wish I had a clever, realistic solution to offer that would satisfy both sides.

But I don’t.

Instead, the best I can do is to offer this completely unrealistic solution – that all people who think it’s just fine to take advantage of free or cheap deals on products they know quite well don’t belong to the seller should cozy up to a good book that includes a list of do’s and don’ts, otherwise known as the Ten Commandments.

Check out commandment number eight, right before thou shalt not bear false witness and right after thou shalt not commit adultery – thou shalt not steal.

If even a significant percentage of us who currently don’t pay attention to that rule started doing so when we’re online, we could minimize this problem to the point of irrelevance, and do so without any outside authority infringing on our freedoms.

OK, maybe a higher authority would be involved.

But – what on Earth is the problem with that?

You can listen to Keller At Large on WBZ News Radio every weekday at 7:55 a.m. and 12:25 p.m. You can also watch Jon on WBZ-TV News.

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