Stop SOPA: Introducing The Stop Censorship Ribbon

From today until January 24th this site will be one of the thousands around the world protesting the American government’s two proposals, SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act) and PIPA (Protect IP Act), both of which would lead to a total collapse of the internet as we  know it. There is a ribbon on the top-right corner of your screen that will direct you to americancensorship.org, which will further explain why you need to act immediately and try and stop this madness. SOPA was proposed way back in October 2011 by Texas Representative Lamar Smith, and the goal of the bill was to basically allow American District Attorneys and/or copyright holders to shut down websites displaying or linking to counterfeited goods or copyrighted property. To avoid all of the legalese, it basically means that the millions of GIFs, videos, and images that are used on blogs like this one, Youtube, Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, etc. would all result in the websites I’ve listed to be in violation of SOPA and PIPA. Any site that is believed to be directing traffic towards pirated content would be subject to their domain being seized and internet service providers such as Verizon (along with search engines like Google) to “police” the issue by simply blocking access to the offending websites or removing links to the site from search engine results.

The biggest backers of SOPA and PIPA are not only media conglomerates such as CBS and NBCUniversal, but Hollywood and the music industry. While i somewhat understand their want to crackdown on illegally streaming movies, it’s really hard not to want to do it when it costs $20 to go to a theater. Why would I want to buy a hip-hop album when I can get the singles on iTunes for cheap or even for free on Youtube?  If the government had the ability to shut down websites that even occasionally link to content infringing upon copyright, then it would be virtually impossible for blogs, social media, Wikipedia, and forums to exist. The internet would basically be stripped of what makes it so great and make it so that WordPress blogs go bye-bye but CNN and ESPN.com are a-okay. So it’s no surprise that there has been a distinct lack of media coverage on this story, even though both bills are up for a vote next Tuesday. CBS, Viacom, NBCUniversal, ESPN, FOX, etc. are frothing at the mouth that they aren’t making money at every single opportunity to the point where they back disgusting pieces of legislation such as SOPA. The reason ABC, NBC, and other news networks brush upon SOPA is as supporters of this act, the public’s lack of knowledge on the subject is to their benefit. It’s a gross form of internet censorship, an overreach of corporate and political power and a direct attempt by the USA government to globally control the world wide web. This bill is in no way trying to simply “eliminate piracy”, it’s a form of governmental censorship supported by big businesses within this country to police everything you as an internet user do on a daily basis.

My issue with SOPA is the arbitrary nature of a very big issue like copyright infringement. Immigration and Customs Enforcement already got one case public wrong back in 2011, so what is to stop them from mistakenly shutting down a small online business because of “suspicion of counterfeited goods”?

What could be the worst possible penalty for suspected piracy? According to this:

Several of the provisions in SOPA force American Internet service providers or ISPs hosting websites to remove a site from the Internet if there’s a claim it’s infringing against copyright, even if it has not been fully proved in court. The argument is that this would make it easy for someone to make false or weak claims to take a website offline while the case makes its way through the courts.

Additionally, it would force ISPs to block non-U.S. websites accused of having infringing material, meaning sites from other countries might not be available in the United States. Opponents say this might destabilize the Internet and allow loopholes for hackers to exploit.

Bold emphasis mine. Basically it’s exactly what American government has long criticized China for, but on a near-global scale, as they would attempt to seize foreign domains (something they cannot do unless it’s within their jurisdiction) and block you from accessing supposed infringing sites.

Do yourself a favor and read about SOPA and PIPA, and bombard your local congressperson to voice your displeasure about these bills. It could be potentially catastrophic if SOPA and PIPA are ever enacted and it would affect internet users on a global scale.

The ribbon stays, it’s there for you to click on, and please research for yourself and it will better inform you on the biggest drawbacks of SOPA and PIPA passing. There’s a link below giving you the actual details of the bill, for your information and understanding.

STOP SOPA/PIPA.

Stop Online Piracy Act – H.R 3261

Several of the provisions in SOPA force American Internet service providers or ISPs hosting websites to remove a site from the Internet if there’s a claim it’s infringing against copyright, even if it has not been fully proved in court. The argument is that this would make it easy for someone to make false or weak claims to take a website offline while the case makes its way through the courts.

Additionally, it would force ISPs to block non-U.S. websites accused of having infringing material, meaning sites from other countries might not be available in the United States. Opponents say this might destabilize the Internet and allow loopholes for hackers to exploit.

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