So, unless you’ve been vacationing underneath a rock for the last few months, you’ve probably heard of SOPA, the Stop Online Piracy Act, or more boringly referred to as House Bill 3261. In its most basic form, it hopes to protect copyright holders from infringement, by enabling court orders to be granted against offenders. Sounds benign, right? No one wants a person’s intellectual property to be stolen from them, unless they’re a scumbag.
Except, as things are prone to do, it has gotten more complicated than that.
Proponents of the bill say that it is needed to protect copyrights, to provide teeth to the current laws. However, because the wording of the bill is nice and vague, it threatens websites with user-submitted content (think Wikipedia, etsy, and YouTube) with taking down the entire site because of one user’s post. Opponents say that this opens up the door for internet censorship is a threat to first amendment rights. Though the proponents of this bill claim that it will also protect jobs within industries such as media and entertainment, some companies have said that should the bill pass, they would move their company outside the reach of US laws. To me, that seems like less jobs, but maybe I’m missing something. And it would threaten the growth of the internet itself by making more legal liability for those who would start a new website or business. More legal liability=less new competition/trade/start-ups/creativity. That’s not so good for jobs, either, the way I see it.
So, what, pray tell, is there to do about it? Well, we all know that people on the interwebz, when good and toasty ticked off about something, like to take action. So tomorrow, January18th, some sites are having a 12 hour blackout of their sites as a protest. Others, though not blacking out their sites, are making it easier to black out your own site with apps. And just so you know, we’re not just talking about small websites here, we’re talking about some major internet players—Wikipedia, Reddit, the Cheezeburger network, and Mozilla are just a few of them. But dont just take all of this at my word, here’s some articles that are about it too. Go, read, and make yourself better informed.
Wikipedia to join Web blackout protesting SOPA
Protest SOPA: Black Out Your Website the Google-Friendly Way
SOPA Blackout Set For January 18th: Here’s All The Info
Reddit to go silent in SOPA protest
Stop Online Piracy Act, From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia