Keep Your SOPA Hands Off My Internet

SOPA, the Stop Online Piracy Act, is a bill currently going through the House of Representatives. For people who spend 7+ hours on the Internet per day like I do, You probably have heard about SOPA, at least in passing. Maybe you’ve even heard that Google, Facebook, reddit, CNET (though their parent company CBS supports SOPA legislation), GoDaddy (after a huge user boycott), and many other companies are anti-SOPA. I wanted to figure out what was going on for myself, so like any good citizen, I did some research (and not just on Wikipedia).

SOPA and PIPA (Protect IP Act, the Senate companion bill) would give the US government more control websites that illegally publish or distribute copyright material. Proponents of the bill want to crack down on international websites that sell Hollywood movies and TV shows for profit. The original bill states that the government could force Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to block entire domains that publish this offending content, but lawmakers have reportedly given up on this restriction.

Despite this victory for Anti-SOPA activists, the bills have not yet been defeated. SOPA/PIPA are supposed to help Hollywood studios police their content and prevent illegal commercial gain, but in their wake, they will destroy access to Winnie the Pooh dubs, disgruntled office workers screaming at a printer, and this explanation of an important US holiday.

Here’s the bottom line: SOPA/PIPA promote censorship of the Internet. This sets a bad precedent for freedom of speech and gives the US government significant control over a major communication channel.

On Saturday, the White House announced that they will not support either SOPA or PIPA, but the work is not done. So do yourself a favor, if you care about the Internet at all (and you must because you’re reading this blog), call your representatives using this call script and let them know that you stand for the Internet.

And that they should get their SOPA hands off of it.

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Additional Links

Great Summary Article

Turns out, Wikipedia’s article about SOPA is pretty good.

A toolkit for Anti-SOPA Activism

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How do you feel about SOPA/PIPA? Let me know in the comments!

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