Today, January 18, 2012, is the start of thousands of websites gathering together to form an online protest against two internet regulation bills currently under review in Congress.
You have probably experienced it by now by not being able to go to your favorite sites like Wikipdia, Reddit, Boing Boing and Craigslist. So what is all of the hype about? This fight is over the bills: The House’s Stop Online Piracy Act and The Senate’s Protect IP (Intellectual Property) Act.
They are laws to help content production companies protect their copyrighted materials, things that are often pirated and sold counterfeit. This would impose restrictions forcing many U.S. companies to stop selling online ads to these pirates, processing payments for illegal sales and refusing to list these sites within the search-engine results. However, as this might sound good it would not only destroy the freewill of the internet, but it will give the monopolies of the entertainment industry the power to sue website holders who link to unauthorized content.
In what is a common situation now, if your favorite band is playing and you record the song to post on YouTube or Facebook you’re fodder for legal trouble. Even better, let’s say you take a photograph and in the background is an ad for Nike, iPad, or Coke you are now liable to get sued by these entities. These nine larger corporations that include CNN’s Parent Company, Miramax and Walt Disney will destroy smaller companies while giving them more power.
We cannot compete with these entertainment monopolies, so if these bills come to pass, it will only lead to sue-happy chaos and an attack on smaller corporations that are eating into the once powerful entertainment industries profits. These protests have had some measurable effect, as The Los Angeles Times stated that three sponsors of the SOPA and PIPA antipiracy bills have withdrawn their support. Senator Marco Rubio withdrew from the PIPA, whereas Representatives Lee Terry and Ben Quayle said they were pulling away from the SOPA. Hopefully this trend continues because Twitter and Google trending topics have been blown up with searches and tweets about SOPA.
According to Topsy.com, there were 25,000 tweets of #WikipediaBlackout and #SOPA in an hour with, about 150,000 in the past 24 hours. You can even see Ryan Gosling getting into the movement thanks to Tumblr and if you want to learn more watch this video. PROTECT IP / SOPA Breaks The Internet from Fight for the Future on Vimeo.