The Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) was a United States bill introduced by U.S. Representative Lamar S. Smith (R-TX) to expand the ability of U.S. law enforcement to fight online trafficking in copyrighted intellectual property and counterfeit goods.
Provisions included the requesting of court orders to bar advertising networks and payment facilities from conducting business with infringing websites, and search engines from linking to the sites, and court orders requiring Internet service providers to block access to the sites. The law would have expanded existing criminal laws to include unauthorized streaming of copyright material, imposing a maximum penalty of five years in prison.
1. The Internet Is Not American
As much as a lot of Americans would like to think the Internet is an American institution, it is far from it. It is a product of the world. In fact, censoring and controlling something like the Internet with a bill like SOPA would have been the most un-American thing we could do to our citizens as a nation that boasts of free speech.
2. Start-Ups Would Take A Hit
SOPA would have made it impossible to advertise or conduct business with any website that infringes on the bill’s guidelines. This creates a massive barrier for start-up businesses and established businesses alike.
3. Say Goodbye To Social Media
Social media has swept across the nation with sites like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and countless others. All of these popular sites would have been under great scrutiny and pressure to censor the information that passes through them had this bill been passed.
4. Consider The Source
SOPA was introduced by US Representative Lamar S. Smith, a Republican from Texas. If it were passed, any complaint of copyright infringement made about a website is enough for the government to intervene and block entire sites without notice. Aside from noting Smith’s campaign contributors, which undoubtly had a large hand in this, it is interesting to note that even his own site was technically guilty of copyright infringement because of an unlicensed image being used as the background. Check out this article for more information about it.
5. Major Sites Going Black
The biggest sites on the web, including Google and Wikipedia, went “black” on January 18th in an unparalleled effort to protest the detrimental bills. There was censoring of logos, black pages, sites completely down, and almost all of them asked people to write to Congress to do their part to stop the madness. Apparently, the effort worked like a charm.
This bill has finally been killed since January 20th.
Please do your part to stop any further insanity and visit StopAmericanCensorship.org to show your support to kill bills like SOPA.