SOPA means Stop Online Piracy Act and it sounds like a pretty good thing if you don’t know what it actually means or the fact that it could change the way we use the internet forever. SOPA is a proposed bill that’s before US senate and it’s so far become the most controversial legislation that has split the tech world into two. Though this proposed legislation looks like a pretty good thing that’s definitely going to stop online piracy, it has been widely criticized as a form of internet censorship which can even be abused. Simply put, SOPA will allow the United States to censor the internet with global impact!
SOPA and PIPA (Protect Intellectual Property Act) are presently before the US senate but it doesn’t affect the United States alone, it affects both you and me. The legislation was proposed to tackle the issue of foreign websites pirating music, videos, softwares and other products online but there’s actually more to it. Some believe it will undermine freedom of speech (which I believe) and others think it’s the best way to protect America’s creative class.
Can you imagine a world where you can’t visit a certain website you love because your ISP has been instructed not to allow visits to that site? A world where the most relevant results will be blocked from Google’s search result page? If this legislation is passed into law, lots and lots of websites on the internet will definitely go down as content owners can ask a court to mandate advertising companies to stop payment to a site allegedly hosting copyright materials.
This sounds good but have realized what will happen if this SOPA bill actually becomes law? What happens to Youtube? This is the reason why Google, Facebook, eBay, Twitter and other notable web companies are protesting against SOPA and PIPA. Those in total suppport include Microsoft, Sony, Dell and other tech entertainment companies.
As a matter of fact, Facebook, Google, Yahoo!, Mozilla, LinkedIn, Twitter, eBay, AOL, and Zynga jointly wrote to the US house committee last November to express their concern over this bill. It’s so controversial that Wednesday, 18th January was declared SOPA blackout day and almost all the notable websites across the world protested in one way or the other. Google, for example, blacked out it’s logo as shown below:
Tumblr, WordPress, Techcrunch, Reddit, Wired, Wikipedia, Doncaprio.com and lots of other giants across the internet protested against SOPA / PIPA by blacking out their websites one way of the other. The US shouldn’t be allowed to sanction the internet, NO!
There was supposed to be a voting by the senate on January 24th but the largely successful protest made Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a Nevada Republican, to postpone the Senate vote on the PIPA bill. He announced this in through his tweet this morning.
“In light of recent events, I have decided to postpone Tuesday’s vote on the PROTECT I.P. Act. There is no reason that the legitimate issues raised by many about this bill cannot be resolved,” said Mr. Reid in a statement Friday.