Thursday, January 19, 2012

PIPA & SOPA & How It'll Affect You

I'm not going to try to paraphrase everything that I learned just yesterday; that's just too much work when there are plenty of videos and articles out there that can explain it for me instead. Besides, they're what I went to when I wanted to understand what's been happening.

Basically, PIPA stands for Protection IP Act, which was first introduced to the Senate on May 12, 2011, and SOPA stands for Stop Online Piracy Act, which was first introduced to the House of Representatives on October 26, 2011. And it all boils down to government censorship.

Here's 1stwebdesigner's descriptions of what the acts do:
PIPA, if passed, will give  U.S. corporations and the government the right to seek affirmative legal action with any website that they see as enabling copyright infringement whether of U.S. origin or not. Here is a breakdown of all that they will have the power to do.
  • Force U.S. internet providers to block access to websites deemed as enablers of copyright infringement
  • Seek legal action by suing search engines, blog sites, directories, or any site in general to have the black listed sites removed from their website
  • Will be able to force advertising services on infringing websites, and those supporting of them, to remove them from their advertising accounts
  • Companies will also have the power to sue any new websites that get started after this bill is passed, if they believe that they are not doing a good job of preventing infringement on your website

SOPA, if passed, will work in conjunction with PIPA. As described by such entities as the Electronic Frontier Foundation, SOPA is nothing more so than the U.S. government and private corporations black list. Here is a breakdown of the power given to the government and private corporations.
  • The U.S. Attorney General can now seek a court order that would force search engines, advertisers, DNS providers, servers, and payment processors from having any contact with allegedly infringing websites
  • It will allow private corporations to create their own personal hit lists composed of websites they feel are breaking their copyright policies, ironically this doesn’t have any odd feelings of a legal mafia at all. These companies will be able to directly contact a website’s payment processors a notice to cut all off payment involvement with the targeted website. This payment processors and website of question will then have five days to act before it is simply taken down.
  • Payment processors will have the power to cut off any website they work with, as long as they can provide a strong reason of why they believe this site is violating copyrights
As this article explains:
The gist of these two acts is this: the government is seeking the ability to shut down access to foreign sites that it determines are "facilitating the commission" of copyright infringement.
Before I go on any further about this, I think this video sums up everything that you basically need to know about SOPA and PIPA and what they'll do and why we must not let it happen. Plus, it's by a British guy, so those 22 minutes listening to him sound amazing. XD

This is the megaupload music video that he's talking about. For an advertisement song, it's actually not that bad. :P

EDIT: Apparently, Megaupload was shut down today. Some say that it was the Department of Justice's response to Wikipedia's shutdown yesterday, and I think I'm agreeing with them...

So here's the music video from youtube instead. 

And here is another, much shorter video that also explains what the acts are about for those of you who don't want to spend so much time listening to an awesome accent. :P Or for those who, you know, like getting facts from more than one person.

And here's a great video with awesome graphics to help explain everything!

If you couldn't tell, I'd rather have people explain stuff to me instead of just reading articles and pages of information. It gets quite boring after a while. :P

But, really, what does SOPA do? Well, this article pretty much explains it, and quite thoroughly. If you wanted my explanation, I'd just quote the whole thing, lol.

And there are a lot of protesters. Google and Wikipedia are two of the most famous protesters. Just yesterday, they participated in a blackout with some other well-known websites to show users just what would happen if the bills are passed.

While Google just changed their homepage image to this, linking to a site with a graphic about what was going on, which also included an online petition, Wikipedia, like the many other websites closed everything off except for a page to explain why they were having a blackout.

Over at The Washington Times, Amy Philip's article also provides many reasons why the internet community has banded together to "protest legislation that is bad for the internet, bad for free speech, and will do nothing to stop piracy."

She also brings up an important fact that I would like everyone to know: the people wanting to pass the bills, the Senate and House of Representatives, are old and (although it is not stated in this article, it was stated in the first video in this post, WTF is SOPA ? aka The American Government trying to ruin the internet) have admitted to having no idea what they're talking about.
The second problem is the age of legislators. The average age of a senator is 60 (this is the oldest average age ever) and the average age of a member of the House is 55 (the oldest average age in more than a century. [source]) We are faced with the very real possibility that the age group who uses and understands the internet the least are the people who will be creating laws for the space. Each congressman has earned the right to their seat by a fair election, their ability to be a congressman is not in doubt. Their ability to understand what will happen to the internet if these laws pass is less sure.
Yeah. Exactly. WTF are they doing trying to pass bills when they're not even entirely competent about the subject matter at hand?

And here's one last video that's even shorter and more to the point about SOPA and the unanimous and anonymous opinion of the interwebz. Enjoy.

And that's basically it. I really hope that they won't pass either bills because I'm pretty sure my blog will be taken down within 24 hours after it's passing, along with other huge websites like Google, Facebook, YouTube, etc. 

So, if you agree, help support by calling your senator or signing petitions and spread the word! A lot of people still don't even know what's going on, which is quite sad considering how many people will be affected because of these bills. 

So yeah. Do your part. Educate yourself. Spread the word. 



  1. I love how informative this post is. I can't believe there are even more people fighting against this, it's insane! Great post, thank you!