...aka piracy, depending on who you talk to, is fast becoming a hot-potato issue.
The burden of reviewing every blog post, tweet and video submission is impossible to manage for any company. This is similar to the situation in China, where video sites such as Tudou have to hire people to monitor content uploads 24-7 to ensure that no sensitive political content is uploaded.
SGE‘s opposition against SOPA/PIPA legislation is not focused on freedom of speech arguments which have been brought forward by many digital advocates. You can read about these elsewhere. Our concern is that such legislation has profound implications to our economy.
He later says:
There has been strong resistance against both bills not just from many technology entrepreneurs from the start-up space but also from multi-national companies such as Amazon, Google, Microsoft, Twitter and Facebook.
...meaning that the opponents of such legislation are, as one would expect, those who would suffer most from SOPA-like legislation. Now, The Economist said in their usual forthright style a few weeks ago that:
The bill’s supporters want this [how content should be distributed and paid for] to change as slowly as possible, so they have time to adapt. Opponents want to see more rapid changes in business models to speed up overdue innovation: cheaper pricing in poor countries, more use of on-demand digital services, less exclusivity in distribution, and ultimately, less reliance on selling albums and DVDs. Yet self-interest is at work on both sides: many of the bill’s critics are trying to create just these kinds of business.
A related issue is now boiling over in India. Global Internet companies are in effect being held accountable for things that their users said, even though a law had previously been passed specifically to clarify that Internet companies and other intermediaries could not be held liable for their users' misdeeds (as long as certain conditions were met). See Is India Ignoring its own Internet Protections?.
So who's right? I'd rather focus on the freedom-of-speech argument that Bernard eschews. High-minded? Idealistic? Yes and yes. But that doesn't make the argument any less valid. In fact, focusing on dollars and cents cheapens the issue.
Note also, as The Economist implies, that arguing purely on economic grounds is to pick winners and losers. Who is to judge whether Google's and Facebook's claims are more valid than counter-claims by Newscorp and CBS? On what basis can one pick one side over another?
Taking the freedom-of-speech tack will probably not have much effect in Singapore (possibly the reason Bernard avoids this argument to begin with) but I think this is the right argument as a matter of principle. Possibly the only right argument. It certainly doesn't have the conflict of interest of the economic arguments advanced.