Protect IP/SOPA Breaks the Internet
I know a number of people are still wondering why Wikipedia, WordPress, or Tumblr were blacked out yesterday night (Well for us at SEA it was yesterday night). It is because of SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act) and PIPA (Protect IP Act) . These are anti-piracy bills in the US Congress that will eventually constitute to censorship. To put it this way, if you upload a video of yourself on Youtube, and incidentally a music is playing in the background, then you can be sued just for that. That in itself is considered a copyright infringement. Or, if you are an artist trying to make it big in the music business, making a cover of a song will now be banned. What is worst is that there will be control of information, which means the US Government can sift through your posts and will censor whatever it is that they consider to be violating intellectual Property Rights. Sites that will be affected most especially are the sites that we use everyday; like Facebook, Youtube, Twitter, and Tumblr. Blogs also like WordPress, Blogspot, and Livejournal will be deeply affected, because we depend greatly on the news articles, videos, and artistic images, that we are able to get on the interwebs. It also means that search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo, can now be sued if they upload articles that will somehow violate property rights.
Why am I reacting if I am not American? If you can observe, most of what we are using are US based, Twitter and Facebook just some of those. If there is censorship, a tweet or a status update can now be considered a violation of PIPA if the US government thinks it is. Also, if the US can do this, I am sure other countries will follow. Because although we think our country is different and they would not think of stripping us of our rights to express ourselves openly, if this SOPA and PIPA will be passed, it would be inevitable that our country will follow as well. Plus, the fact that if the US could not control sites outside of their country, they could have US sites and companies to revoke our access to information.
We have been connected through the internet, maybe even made friends through internet. I plan on supporting the strike. The internet would be useless if these are passed.
To know more about SOPA and PIPA just click on the links below:
Learn more about the protest:
Understanding PIPA and SOPA:Why you should be concerned from New Left Media
Wikipedia video: Imagine a world without free knowledge
The day the Lolcats died
SOPA and PIPA by Khan Academy
Gaiman on Copyright Piracy and the Web