18 January, 2012
If you're a regular internet-goer like me, you may have heard of a bill introduced last year to the US House of Representatives called House Bill 3261, or SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act).
Basically the act would allow the US Department of Justice, or copyright holders, to sue any site infringing on their copyrights. It'd stop that site from being listed anywhere on the internet (including search engines), and would technically hold any site sharing the original offender equally responsible. This'd mean that Internet superpowers like Google and YouTube would have to think (more than) twice about what they let you put up on their websites.
Image courtesy of Theoriesofconspiracy.com
The bill has support from many record companies, production studios, hollywood and more, to help in controlling the distribution of intellectual property by offshore parties. Regardless, it has been accused of violating the US's First Amendment, crippling the Internet, and threatening free speech world wide. Giants like Google, Wikipedia, Twitter and Reddit have announced that they will protest the bill, with Reddit and Wikipedia announcing blackouts on January 18th. Read more in this article from the Washington Post about the planned protests.
Let us know what you think about SOPA and PIPA. Don't know enough to make up your mind? Check out the SOPA wikipedia page for a bit of further reading. You might have some trouble in the next day or so, though.
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