SOPA (Stop Online Privacy Act) is a pain in the butt. PIPA (Protect IP Act), its partner in crime, is no better. That’s why we need to stop it TODAY, or we set ourselves back almost 20 years.
The bills’ intention is to prohibit piracy of copyrighted material, especially by foreign-based companies. On the face of it, these bills sound reasonable and necessary, since approximately $1B is lost annually to this problem. But if you look deeper, it’s obvious that SOPA and PIPA will create more problems than resolve them.
Early supporters of these bills included the likes of Hollywood (e.g. The Motion Picture Association of America) and mainstream media. However, after realizing the ramifications, more and more have discredited the bills as bad law.
If SOPA passes, it will change the rules of the internet. Mashable’s Ulanoff reminds us that SOPA will inevitably stop all reposting, shared videos, and shared links that are not original. Well why else are we on the internet in 2012? We grow and learn from each other through user-based content from sites like Wikipedia, Tumblr, Twitter, etc. All that is threatened now.
There is this scary, but very real notion that if SOPA passes, our country’s sacred belief in free speech and due process will corrode.
SOPA is written in such a way that will give authorities the power to shut down websites that are hosting (sometimes unknowingly) pirated content. So U.S.-based businesses will just as likely be affected as foreign ones.
A site like Foursquare could be shut down in an instant because it thrives on user-generated content. The chance that someone has posted copied material is nearly 100%. What would happen then? Foursquare would no longer exist, which would create even more problems because of how many people check-in and provide valuable information to their friends.
Technology has brought us to the point where we can create start-ups overnight and have the information go viral by the next afternoon. Our economy is now heavily based on what happens on the internet; so why hurt the economy while its trying to recover?
For a list of websites that went dark today, please go here.
To sign the petition, please take 10 seconds by visiting this site.
And to view a very brief, but informative video explaining SOPA & PIPA, please click here.