Yesterday, my whole world came crashing down.
While having a serious talk with friends in the coffee shop, we happened to disagree about one of the best musicals-about-to-be-turned-movie of all time, Les Miserables. So, being the savvy college student I am, I went to consult the “Oracle”–otherwise known as the Internet. I went to the ol’ standy, Wikipedia, to search for the movie cast.
That’s when it happened.
Wikipedia. Was. Broken. Okay, maybe not broken, but it had gone black for some reason. I was devastated.
Once out of my shocked stupor, I read further on the Wikipedia homepage, and read that this protest was in response to Congress’s Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the Protect IP Act (PIPA).
Besides being the Spanish word for “soup” and the younger, more popular sister of Kate Middelton, SOPA and PIPA have been hotly contested since the start of the year. Since voting for these acts will occur on January 24th, many people across the country are speaking out in volumes. According to a CBS news report on the bills, since there are already acts in place to crack down on specific MATERIAL being pirated, like music and movies, SOPA and PIPA would target the website itself that is hosting these files.
Companies like PayPal (a company that partners with websites to allow for online purchasing) and other companies that advertise on these websites, would be forced by the government to cut ties with the websites, in turn causing millions to be lost in advertising dollars. Essentially, the government would use similar censorship tactics to that of the Chinese Government.
Over 41 Human Rights organizations and 110 well noted law professors disagree with the law, partially because it would take away from the more important issues that need to be taken care of in Congress, such as the umemployment rate rising and basic civil rights. How does it really affect us though (I mean, besides those of us who haven’t bought anything on iTunes since 2006)?
Websites such as Facebook, Twitter, Yahoo and Google would have to either waste time deleting things that users post on the site, or face litigation that could take FOREVER.
Meaning…I can’t watch my cat videos on Facebook. WHAT. THE. HECK.
Can you imagine a Youtube, or a Facebook, WITHOUT CAT VIDEOS??
(Maybe I’m the only one who makes that big of a deal about cat videos, but still…they’re entertaining!!)
SOPA and PIPA are both two acts that could have some huge effects on the Internet as we know it. The way we communicate virtually could change forever. Many websites such as Wikipedia and Google are encouraging people to contact their senators and representatives to make sure that YOUR voice is heard. Speak up! If any piece of legislation will affect us directly, this is one. For more info on SOPA and PIPA, go to www.google.com/landing/takeaction/sopa-pipa/ or http://www.stopthewall.us/ before those sites get shut down too.