Home > Blog, Opinion > SOPA and PIPA, will they leave us speechless?

SOPA and PIPA, will they leave us speechless?

It has been a while since I have last blogged and this is mainly due to the demanding workload of my third and final year at university. However, today marks an important day for the internet that cannot be ignored, with SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act) and PIPA (Protect Intellectual Property Act), anti-piracy bills, being considered in the USA.

The legislations are aimed to stop online piracy but many people feel there will be devastating consequences regarding freedom of speech and movement online. If the laws are put into action they can create blacklists of websites to be censored, remove these websites from search engines and cease funding. The DNS (Domain Name System) would be manipulated by these laws and could therefore make websites vanish in the blink of the eye. This might not always be a “bad thing” you may say, but for example, if it were to stumble upon a contaminated blog, instead of discarding of that one, single blog the entire website/company would cease to exist.

Innovation, liberation and freedom would all be squandered by these two movements. If the legislations offered greater fairness and well-thought and developed arbitrary values then perhaps they would be considered more useful to the internet. However, this is not the case.

The BBC (2012) state that

The bills propose that anyone found guilty of streaming copyrighted content without permission 10 or more times within six months should face up to five years in jail.

This will benefit those that are damaged by people committing piracy which is right and just, however as stated above the delivery methods of punishment are not as clear-cut nor effective.

Those in favour include music publishers, film companies, book publishers and television channels and networks. Though PIPA and SOPA have caused a stir amongst large online presences such as Wikipedia whom are feature a black out showing their utmost support against the proposed laws. Others include eBay, LinkedIn and Google.

PIPA is currently being cradled by the Senate whilst SOPA currently remains in the hands of The House of Representatives. The body of the internet is yet to be disfigured but these changes may just be the making of an unattractive global medium.

Useful links

BBC article discussing sites protesting the legislations

The Guardian– Stop SOPA or the web really will go dark

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