Facebook and Google vs RIAA and MPAA
Google and Facebook, which are known for providing venues to share user-generated content like YouTube videos, blog posts, and personal photos, came into significant conflict with the RIAA and MPAA in early 2012, which advocate for publishers of high-budget movies and music made by paid professionals.
The conflict is over whether the United States government should pass SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act) and PIPA (PROTECT IP Act, or Preventing Real Online Threats to Economic Creativity and Theft of Intellectual Property Act), US Congressional bills which are designed to protect the interests of professional content distributors like corporate members of the RIAA and MPAA.
SOPA and PIPA would make it more difficult to use content-sharing web sites like YouTube and Megaupload. In practice, sites like these share a mix of authorized and unauthorized content. Examples of authorized content are videos uploaded by the person who created them, for entertainment or educational reasons. An example of unauthorized content is copies of copyrighted movies (like The Hurt Locker) or music.
Both sides claim they want to see people rewarded for putting their time and resources into creating great content, but Facebook and Google and the like are especially interested in content that is made by their users and friends of their users. Generally, content released on sites like YouTube and Facebook is given away for free, but can also be a source of advertising revenue whenever users view a page served by Facebook or Google.
In contrast, RIAA and MPAA are interested in supporting the business models of their member business entities, generating revenue through unit sales and other forms of directly paid access. Part of their plan for supporting such models involves preventing that work from being given away or sold by unauthorized parties with no revenue being shared with the copyright holder.
Either side winning could make it more difficult for the others to maintain their current revenue streams involving content distribution. On the one hand, major movie and music studios can only do what they do if people pay for legally licensed copies of their content. On the other hand, Facebook and Google and similar businesses can't effectively provide free venues for sharing user-generated content if there are strong fears of fines or being shut down every time someone uploads unauthorized copyrighted material.