Imagine you went to your favorite website, the one you visit every day, and it was gone.
This may be the future.
Currently, there are two bills going through Congress and Senate that could make this a reality. While these bills are meant to stop online piracy of movies, music, and other copyright content, especially overseas, the wording is so vague that, should these bills pass, the possible ramifications could affect us all.
SOPA and PIPA
In America, we’ve always been innocent until proven guilty. These bills could cause any website suspected of linking to possible infringing material to be shut down.
Suspected – Yes, suspected. Not proven.
Linking To – The content doesn’t have to even be on their site. It could be on a site they link to.
Not just shut down – Their IP address could be blocked from search engines, advertisers and income removed, and face possible fines and even jail time. They’d disappear off the internet.
SOPA goes as far as to include those who don’t understand the law, not just those ignoring it.
Why should we care?
It turns us all into criminals.
I’d like to think people in power wouldn’t abuse that power, but they already have. And, this bill would give them even more power. Simply sharing our lives and expressing ourselves could become illegal.
- Moms could face a lawsuit for sharing family videos of their babies dancing to a copyright song.
- You could get sued for sharing your wedding video on Facebook or YouTube if a copyright song plays in the background.
- Your 12-year old could face up to $150,000 in fines for using a service you pay for monthly and didn’t realize wasn’t 100% legal.
- Vindictive people could use the bills to take revenge against websites and blogs and most definitely would.
- Justin Bieber could have ended up in jail for 5 years, instead of becoming a teenage heartthrob.
- Sites like Greenpeace would disappear in the United States, instead of winning lawsuits against large corporations who aren’t happy about the use of their logos in Go Green and activist campaigns.
- Sites like Facebook, Twitter, Wikipedia, YouTube, MySpace, and blogs where users contribute content would become responsible for comments and content shared by users. They’d eventually cease to exist or have to censor every comment, photo, and video by every user.
Read through these sites that explain SOPA and PIPA, then make your own opinion.
- American Censorship
- Fight for the Future
- SOPA Infographic
- ARTICLE: SOPA Pros & Cons
- ARTICLE: SOPA: The Debate in Plain English
- ARTICLE: Why SOPA is Dangerous (This one is very good!)
- Free Bieber (for laughs)
- SOPA on OpenCongress
- PIPA on OpenCongress
These bills have lots of support and could become law soon. Today, since so many websites are blacking out, take the time to take action.
- Petition the State Department
- Write Congress
- Write Senators
- Lobby Congress
- Censor Your Website in Protest
- Sign up to have Senator Ron Wyden read your name when he filibusters SOPA
- Change your Facebook profile picture to a censored image to spread awareness
- Support Candidates supporting the Internet
- Spread the word & education friends and family
And thank your for taking the time to help keep freedom of expression and speech on the internet!