As many of you have probably heard, there are forces of power collaborating over two pieces of legislation, that if passed, could threaten the Internet and all of the vast freedoms we take advantage of. As we all know, the Internet is a world where people from all over collaborate to share information, build friendships, and openly express themselves, but what happens if it’s all taken away?
A little background information on the two laws currently under open debate in congress are SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act) and PIPA (Protect IP Act). These bills, opposed by a force of businesses titled The Net Coalition, essentially empower the government to put an end to piracy and copyright infringements, using any means necessary up to shutting off a persons or companies access to the web. The bills, designed to help enforce copyright holders in the United States, allow corporations to seek court orders forcing payment providers, search engines, and advertisers to stop doing business with these infringing sites. It doesn’t stop there, provisions of SOPA also permit the government to issue court orders to Internet Service Providers to enforce a DNS block on infringing sites (even though the IP’s would still make the website reachable). To take it one step further, these laws even empower copyright holders to require entities such as YouTube to take down videos of people singing other’s songs, which again if passed, can claim infringe the copyrights held by music companies
Today, January 18th, marks the official first blackout day for the major companies on the internet that oppose these bills. Corporations such as google, wikipedia, and craigslist have all blacked out their websites in protest, requiring users to view a little statement of their feelings regarding these bills before being able to continue browsing through their site, all of which also have a form that can be signed to enlist yourself in their protest on these laws.
It’s quite simple, these law’s threaten the freedom’s that many of us truly cherish, and unless we all band together to vocalize our opinions, we risk losing our right to express ourselves and speak freely.