It’s a pretty quiet day on the Internet today. Too quiet.
Very Real Possibility
Though the thousands of sites out there that are blacked out today in protest of SOPA and PIPA are doing it voluntarily, it is a very real demonstration of the threat and danger that these two bills present.
To those of us that make our living online, these bills present a very real and present danger to our livelihood.
SOPA May be Down, but It’s Not Out
Although the White House has come out against it and SOPA has been “shelved,” it is not dead. In fact, it is expected to be reintroduced in similar form in the next two weeks. Chairman of the Judiciary Committee, Lamar Smith, explained how he would continue to push for a bill that does what SOPA is intended to do:
"Due to the Republican and Democratic retreats taking place over the next two weeks, markup of the Stop Online Piracy Act is expected to resume in February.
"I am committed to continuing to work with my colleagues in the House and Senate to send a bipartisan bill to the White House that saves American jobs and protects intellectual property."
You Aren’t the Only One
Over 3,000,000 people have already signed petition against SOPA and PIPA.
Where We Stand
What You Can Do Now
PIPA is still up for a vote, and it’s coming up fast, January 24, 2012. It is important that we voice our opinions on this.
Voice your concern by letting your representatives know what you think:
SOPA: Contact your Congressman
PIPA: Contact your Senator
What If I Don’t Live in the US?
Many of the sites that you use day-to-day (e.g. Google, Facebook, Wikipedia, etc.) are all affected by these laws and will be required to hide “offending” domains from you.
You can still voice your concerns by contacting U.S. lawmakers.
What About ACTA?
The Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) is very similar to SOPA and PIPA. It is a multi-national agreement that has many of the same intents as SOPA and PIPA, but even more concerning is the fact that it is being drafted in secret. Though ACTA is not the focus of today’s blackout, it is important to learn more about ACTA.
Quick Primer on SOPA and PIPA
SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act) and PIPA (Protect-IP Act) aren’t much different; the main difference is that one is the U.S. House of Representatives while the other is in the U.S. Senate. Venture Beat pretty well summed up what SOPA/PIPA will do, so I’ve pasted that below:
SOPA gives both the U.S. government and copyright holders the authority to seek court orders against websites associated with infringing, pirating and/or counterfeiting intellectual property. The implication of having the bill pass is that it could drastically change the way the Internet operates. For example, if a website is accused of containing copyright-infringing content (such as a song, picture, or video clip), the site could be blocked by ISPs, de-indexed from search engines, and even prevented from doing business with companies like PayPal.
Rather than uphold the potential law fairly, many expect media companies to file court orders against any piece of content that gets in the way of their own licensed properties — thus giving them an advantage over anyone that isn’t a huge business with a legal department. As we previously noted, SOPA is likely to have a negative effect on business and innovation if it’s signed into law.
Bills like SOPA, PIPA and ACTA will stifle innovation and hurt business.