When sites like Wikipedia and Reddit banded together for a major blackout January 18th, the impact was felt all the way to Washington D.C. The blackout had lawmakers running from the controversial anti-piracy legislation, SOPA and PIPA, which critics said threatened freedom of speech online.
Unfortunately for free-speech advocates, these pieces of legislation are not the only laws which threaten an open internet.
SOPA and PIPA: Just the Facts
The Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and Protect IP Act (PIPA) have been making headlines, but what are they, exactly? Here are the facts.
The Stop Online Piracy Act and the Protect IP Act are getting more negative attention, as major websites such as Wikipedia plan to protest the bills with blackouts on Wednesday. Even Google will join the action, with a link on its homepage explaining why the company opposes the legislation.
Imagine surfing the internet without being able to watch videos on YouTube, share with your friends on FaceBook, look at pictures of your best friend's new baby on Flickr or read news headlines from reddit. Luckily this is not reality, though it could be if the Congress passes H.R. 3261 the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA).
Essentially, SOPA would claim the federal government “owns” the internet and will have the ability shut-down any website that commits a copyright infringement, whether willfully or not.
By invoking the acronym SOPA right at the get-go, I may be daring many of you to check the next column over for something a little less chewy. After all, SOPA, which stands for Stop Online Piracy Act, sounds like a piece of arcane Internet government regulation — legislation that entertainment companies desperately care about and that leaves Web nation and free-speech crusaders frothing at the mouth. The rest of us? What were we talking about again? Stay with me here.
SOPA replacement uses child porn as excuse to spy on 99.7 percent of Americans SOPA author Lamar Smith pushing bill to make web sites track every user's every move
The SOPA and PIPA bills that went down in flames earlier this year for their unbearable intrusiveness, used content piracy as an excuse to give the government powerful tools with which to censor Internet content.
Website hosting company GoDaddy has officially voiced its support for the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) Bill in 2012, which is designed to thwart movie and music piracy on the Internet by empowering copyright holders to effectively shut down websites or online services found with infringing material. If passed, the U.S. government could blacklist any website it deems in violation of copyright, which could range from a few posts in a Web forum to a few links sent in an e-mail.
I'm a world-class nerd. But that doesn't mean I understand the nuts and bolts of the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), an internet censorship bill on which the House Judiciary Commitee held hearings today.