Currently a big issue are the SOPA and PIPA laws that many people have come out against under the claim they make us all victims (a term I have gotten tired of seeing in common usage). While I partly agree, I do not think they should simply be squashed and things continue as they have been, rather they should be used as springboards for an open and honest discussion about where certain Internet issues are going before they become too big to deal with.
There is the obvious issue about those who make profit off of their created works, musicians, authors, etc. Their ability to maintain an income is derived off this and pirating denies them money they need, not every one of these people are famous. For every famous person, there are many others who work in these fields who are not big celebrities and some who are struggling.
But there should also be discussion and decisions made regarding the following:
– The effect of Internet businesses on the economy. In a way, Internet businesses are having an effect similar to how some describe actual big companies in the physical world like Wal-Mart. Internet businesses offer products at lower prices and you do not have to leave home to get them, very appealing to those who have to live in areas where the shopping centers can get crowded. This can help drive out of business the local shops already having to struggle against the bigger retailers for years, now they have the added burden of competing against the global reach of an Internet retailer. How can any small business survive in such a market?
– The tax dodging. I remember the days when eBay and other sites first came about, there was no requirement to pay taxes through those sites, this is part of where the cheaper cost came from. One person doing it may not seem like a big deal but if you get enough people doing it, the collected effect is going to have an adverse result on the system that takes in taxes to provide services. Just look at all the discussion already going on regarding taxes and the economy that several claim are their big issues, now add in the effect of a large number of Internet purchases that do not have to pay taxes, it can come out to a big chuck of money that could be contributing to losses of revenue needed to maintain government services.
– Holding websites accountable to their own policies. I know of a very popular site that currently has a page that was hacked twice stolen from the original creator. The original creator appeared to have intended it to be a site for venting and a bit of sarcastic humor but also did not engage in offensive material, the current hacker has allowed material that is clearly offensive such as depictions of the 9-11 attacks with the burning towers having smiley faces and passing a joint between them, another showing the burning towers with game graphics around them indicating Multi-Kill and Bonus Points, other pictures look like positive depictions of Nazi behavior and beliefs. While there are a small number who call this freedom (and if you are one, you are in the minority whether you like that truth or not), there is simply no way any sane person could be convinced such things are freedom of speech, indeed we live in a time when certain activities such as hate speech are considered crimes. When such speech is allowed in a society, it is not freedom, rather it is the opposite, oppression through the abuse of policies to subject others to the offensive material.
While certain freedoms need protecting, the store should not just be opened up to anyone, this isn’t a Black Friday sale.