Web Protests over Piracy Bills While China Slaps Internet Curbs

By the Monitor's Board | The Christian Science Monitor, January 18, 2012 | Go to article overview
Save to active project

Web Protests over Piracy Bills While China Slaps Internet Curbs


the Monitor's Board, The Christian Science Monitor


Legislation in Congress aims to curb Web theft of intellectual property while Beijing cracks down on bloggers. Both nations must weight the cost to creativity that leads to innovation.

The Internet is not only one of humanity's greatest inventions but is itself a tool for creativity. Yet in the world's two largest economies, China and the United States, government is trying to curb its use.

In Congress, two bills due for a vote soon aim to block Internet piracy of cultural goods such as movies. The legislation serves the interests of the entertainment industry, which loses income in the theft of copyrighted material.

But the bills have ignited a Web-wide protest by Google, Wikipedia, and others that fear the effect of weeding out stolen content on their sites.

In China, the Communist Party has tightened its control over the Web even further in hopes of heading off a Chinese Arab Spring. It now requires microbloggers to register their names.

While actions in both countries differ in their motives and goals, they raise a common issue: Can a nation spur innovation and stay competitive if it stifles freedom on the Internet?

The antipiracy bills in the US simply aim to enforce existing laws protecting intellectual property. Such laws attempt to encourage inventors, artists, and others by promising a monopoly in the selling of their ideas. The "patent system ... added the fuel of interest to the fire of genius," said Abraham Lincoln, the only US president to be awarded a patent.

Many Internet experts, however, argue for less legal protection of new ideas. They point to the fashion industry, which flourishes despite few curbs on knockoffs. Creative genius will happen more often in a freer environment, not necessarily because of the profit motive, they argue. "Curiosity has its own reason for existing," said Albert Einstein.

In its curtailing of the Internet, China puts at risk its drive for home-grown innovation. The economic giant has risen due in large part to its imitation of industrial inventions from the West and Japan.

Yet, a 2011 survey known as the Global Creativity Index ranks China as 58th in a mix of measures such as openness to fresh thinking and an ability to draw talent.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited article

Web Protests over Piracy Bills While China Slaps Internet Curbs
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?