SOPA and PIPA are the trending words on the internet, the very network of information that these two statutes Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and Protection of Intellectual Property Act (PIPA) are designed to ‘regulate’. There is a hue and cry from every Tom, Dick and Harry who may have not even seen what these statutes mean. Any ‘human being’ capable of thinking and the ‘intellectual mind’ would definitely question the provisions of the statute and not the need of the statute itself.
Do we need regulation of the content on the internet? Probably, even the benevolent creator of this man-made wonder, Tim-Berners-Lee, who chose not to patent this creation would not have imagined the ‘internet’ being used to circulate videos of men and women having sex with animals, son having sex with mother, brother having sex with sister (known as incest videos). Recently, a 19 year old boy in Delhi took a 80 year old woman into the bushes and inserted a stick into her vagina (Read the article here). The judge of the court was forced to ask the government to define ‘digital rape’ which is at present not explicitly spelt out in the Indian Penal Code. There are internet cafes in this country that are virtually acting as brothels. Opponents of internet regulation may quip these incidents as ‘one-off’, but these one-off incidents are a precursor to the destruction of civilization. This destruction has already begun in our metropolitan cities and bringing up children in these cities has become a challenge.
While every human invention has its advantages, it also comes with its own set of disadvantages. These disadvantages are difficult to be envisaged by the creator of the invention at the time of invention. The genius ‘human’ then starts making use or misusing this invention. Thus, there is no doubt that the content on the internet needs to be regulated to prevent the moral decline of our society, to protect the sovereignty of our country and to prevent offensive material that may create ill will between the communities and destroy the secular fabric of this nation.
The only questions that intelligent people of this country and elsewhere have to ask are: Who will regulate the content? What is the procedure that they would use? What are the actions that they would take? As far as the first question is concerned, an independent authority consisting of eminent citizens of the country including some eminent ‘young’ leaders can decide. This body should be independent of the executive. The answer to the second question will be specific to every nation and the kind of jurisprudence they have. At a minimum level, the procedure has to stand the test as required by the principles of natural justice. The actions to be taken will also be nation specific but it is common sense that the first thing required to be done is to devoid the internet of such ‘offensive’ material. The ‘Web Entrepreneurs’ have to cooperate with the public authorities to make this internet a safe place. The State at the same time instead of being hegemonic will have to follow a consultative role and bring about this regulation.