What is SOPA?
You may have noticed the black “shhhhh… we’re protesting” image in my last post.
This was my personal contribution to the global SOPA blackout supported by thousands of websites around the world, including Wikipedia, Mozilla, Reddit, Minecraft, and WordPress.Org.
What is SOPA/PIPA?
SOPA (the “Stop Online Piracy Act”) and PIPA (the “PROTECT IP Act”) are bills in the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate, respectively. These bills are supposed to be a legal backing to stop copyright infringement on websites.
So what’s the big deal?
The way the bills are currently written, the US government would be given the right to shut down any website that may host infringing content or even user-generated links to copyright-infringing material.
For example, if you wrote a comment on my blog and linked to a website that hosted infringing content, my blog would technically be illegal and the US government would be fully justified in shutting it down. Obviously, the government wouldn’t be too interested in my blog, but think how this could affect larger sites like Wikipedia.
SOPA / PIPA is a threat to free expression on the internet and could bring censorship to a whole new level. Hopefully the protest showed the US Senate just how opposed citizens are to the bills.
Interesting fact about the blackout’s success
Over 8,000,000 people looked up their elected representative’s contact information via Wikipedia. There were so many people trying to contact their reps that the Senate’s website was shut down due to “technical difficulties”.
How did the Wikipedia blackout affect you? Let us know in the comments below.