Marketing in the face of SOPA and PIPAThe discussions that began online have spilled over into radio, TV, and other traditional media channels. It seems as if everyone these days is talking about Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and Protect Intellectual Property Act (PIPA), two bills that if voted into law, could potentially change the face of the internet as we know it. Should this be the case, not even brands would be exempt from their wrath. On that note, let’s have a look at what the passing of SOPA and PIPA could have on the marketing landscape.

Restrict Sharing

For many brands, providing a way for users to share content is a big part of their marketing strategy. From social media to email, businesses are doing whatever they can to make their content as easy to share as possible. Sharing could be a thing of the past, or at the very least, restricted, if the supporters of SOPA and PIPA have their way. With potential legal battleshanging over their hands, the average user will likely be rather hesitant to share any content that does not belong to them. As a marketer, this means that getting fans to share your content on the blogs, social networks, and video sites could be extremely difficult.

Cripple Marketing Channels

Today’s brands rely on a variety of internet-based channels to conduct their marketing. SOPA and/or PIPA going into effect could shut off some of the most important channels available. What these two bills aim to do is provide content owners as well as the government with additional powers for enforcing copyright laws. This means that a copyright holder that even suspects a website of infringement, right or wrong, could cut off the resources that enable the site to exist. Perhaps the worst part is the act first, investigate later mentality that could pretty much leave those channels inoperable while they try to reverse the damage through litigation.

Un-level the Playing Field

One of the biggest fear opponents of SOPA and PIPA have is companies abusing those newly acquired powers to stamp out their competition. For example, let’ say a rival business does not appreciate how you have surpassed them in size and strength. Under SOPA, in particular, they could file for an injunction claiming you infringed on a given piece of copyrighted content, and literally cripple your operations in a heartbeat. According to critics, voting SOPA and PIPA into law would be equivalent to supplying companies with the most powerful competitive weapon ever crafted.

Both the SOPA and PIPA bills are currently on the shelf – for now. It has been reported that proponents have already come up with another proposal designed to combat online piracy and grant similar powers. With vital economical sectors like the movie and music industries desperate to keep pirates from eating into their profits, this news should surprise no one. Marketers can rest a bit easy now, but it may only be a matter of time before we are talking about the next threat to internet freedom.