Possibly those in Congress here in the United States have forgotten that the “www” prior to a web address or domain name stands for “World Wide Web.” In late October 2011 the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) was introduced to the House of Representatives and according to CNN Money, SOPA was expected “sail quickly through committee approval in the house.” However, here it is 2012 and hearings about SOPA are being cancelled and the legislation is being reworked.
This Wednesday, January 18, 2012 sites like Wikipedia, Reddit, Boing Boing, the Cheezburger network of comedy and others all plan to participate in a blackout protest of SOPA. The internet bigwigs, Google, claim that SOPA will cause an “online Armageddon.”
Could the face of the internet as we know it drastically be changed forever?
SOPA aims to crack down on copyright infringement, those fighting for SOPA, whom have been dubbed “Hollywood” are claiming that “rogue overseas” sites, such as Pirate Bay are infringing on their copyrights and causing the destruction of American jobs. Pirate Bay operates like a bazaar for illegal downloads of digital content – such as music, movies and TV shows.
Okay so you may be asking yourself, what is so wrong with SOPA, fighting copyright is not all bad and this battle has been fought before (note: Napster). In short here is what will happen if SOPA passes: copyright holders can reach out to law enforcement officials when their rights are infringed upon, the infringing site will then be shut down. Yeah I said it — closed, done, no more, gone. But it gets better. When such site is reported, search engines (like Google, Yahoo and Bing), as well as other providers, will have to block the “rouge” site when ordered to do so by a judge.
“Hollywood” has apparently lost its good faith in internet users as SOPA is a hard slap in the face to the 1998 Digital Millennium Copyright Act which stated that companies (i.e. websites) “act in good faith” when the copyright holder asks them to take an item down.
Now you may be thinking, “Okay, so good bye Pirate Bay, but other than that, how does SOPA affect me?”
SOPA jeopardizes the open beauty if the internet, which in turn could jeopardize your use of the internet.
In November 2009 The Mosh Pit posted Rammstein album ban from Germany, the post included a picture of the band from their website and a video of the band via YouTube. Sometime since the post the image has been removed by the copyright holder – without my knowledge. (For any of you that are unfamiliar with my blog or new, The Mosh Pit is a blog I created a few years ago as a class project and have updated every so often since. When I launched The Mosh Pit I did not save the images I was planning on using in each post to my computer, instead each image was back linked to its original home. Soon I noticed my images just disappearing off my site, they had been taken down because someone had claimed copyright infringement and had the link back to the page to prove it – no notification of the removal was sent to me, the post creator and the link to the original image was removed.)
What might you post that could get you shut down? What site do you frequent that could fall victim to SOPA?
I for one am outraged by SOPA and cannot help but feel like SOPA will create an American spin off of the Chinese internet and Google China. Who knew that in the home of the brave and land of the free that something like the internet, the World Wide Web, could be restricted?
So internet, what are your thoughts?
There is a Twitter chat happening about SOPA today, Tuesday January 17, 2012 at 2pm ET; follow hash tag #asnechat