Overseas Technology Startup Comments on SOPA
Liam McCallum has served at the forefront of the digital entertainment industry for over 12 years, recently leaving the video game giant Electronic Arts to found QVIVO, a cloud based media technology startup based in Hong Kong. Living and working in the industry across the borders of Europe, America, South East Asia and China has given him a unique perspective on the issues of copyright which are driving support for legislative measures that have been introduced in the United States Senate and United States House of Representatives, S. 968 (the "PROTECT IP Act") and H.R. 3261 (the "Stop Online Piracy Act").
"The United States is a proud global leader on Internet innovation which is why, though I'm not a US citizen, I feel it's appropriate to comments on the proposed SOPA and PIPA bills and the potential consequences they have on the global technology industry." says McCallum.
Fast growing tech startups that change the world are no longer the exclusive domain of US college dorm rooms and Silicon Valley basements, but they still rely on the United States for a plethora of services that enable ideas to evolve into businesses in a matter of months.
"The idea for QVIVO wouldn't have come to fruition so quickly without taping into the ecosystem of infrastructure, services and funding that has been built around the rapid rise of successful tech startups in the US." reveals McCallum. "Proposed bills such as SOPA and PIPA run the risk of not just slowing down quick moving startups but the continued growth of service providers who support them."
Many global technology startups, though outside the United States' jurisdiction, respect and comply with US laws, notably the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. "Since users can not share or make public their personal media collections through the QVIVO Cloud we haven't yet received a DMCA takedown request but we're clear of the actions required of us and our processes are in place." says McCallum. "The DMCA's safe harbor provisions for online service providers are well understood and lie at the foundation of any social, media or technology startup idea. "
Internet companies and content owners are often portrayed at odds with each other when the reality is both industries have achieved enormous success due to the exponential rise of social media, fast moving trends and new online business models.
Liam McCallum explains,"I've sat on both sides of the fence, even within the same company. Copyright holders must reserve the right to protect their intellectual property with the full support of law, but at the same time embrace new business models that keep at pace with modern markets." Liam continues,"I understand and support the SOPA bills' desired goals of providing enforcement measures to tackle rogue websites dedicated to copyright infringement but the proposed bill in it's current form, I believe, would not only harm innovation but impose unrealistic requirements on law-abiding online businesses that may jeopardize continued operations."
Currently based in Hong Kong China, Liam McCallum has first hand experience with an Internet different to that of the US.
"Governments around the world have chosen to tailor the Internet to suit their own needs, but there is a concern the proposed Stop Online Piracy Act may be abused for individual commercial interest. As content owners and technology startups around the world face new challenges it may be prudent to ask ourselves if we believe any law, especially one as powerful as the proposed SOPA bill, will always be used in the way it was originally intended."