The Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and it’s sister bill, the Protect IP Act (PIPA), are both making headway in their respective houses of Congress right now and are hard to miss if you spend much time at all watching the news or trolling your favorite social network. I’m not necessarily here to persuade you one direction or another regarding in how you should view the bills but I would encourage you to take a few minutes to learn a bit more about the bill and how it might affect you going forward.
The bill(s) essentially are going up for discussion and voting once the houses reconvene in a week or two and if you want to have any say in how they are voted upon, you might want to take a moment to call/email your representatives.
Highlight arguments for the bill include the ambitious goal of stopping piracy and copyright infringement on the Internet; a noble goal indeed. The proponents of the bill say that content creators will ultimately make more money since you would have to go directly to the source to buy/obtain whatever material you’re trying to consume.
Opponents against the bill are quick to point out that it’s pretty vague language that fails to drive home the point that they’re willing to shut down sites (along with judicial-related punishment for site owners) like YouTube, Google, Twitter, Facebook and millions of others in attempt to eradicate the small minority of offenders.
Groups like the MPAA, RIAA [read: big money lawyers backed by the movie and music industries], NBC, Ford, NBA and associations like the National Chamber of Commerce are all backers of the bill, and as you can probably guess, have a significant amount of money on their side to push this type of legislature through.
Interested in seeing how much? Mike Ciarlo was too. He put a [very well-done] presentation together of the 25 highest “backed” representatives by proponents of SOPA/PIPA that you might want to check out.
There’s plenty of research out there for you to take some time to form your own opinions off of, as an Internet user, I’d encourage you to at least get informed on your own. If nothing else, take ten minutes to run through this Wiki of SOPA/PIPA and educate yourself a little on this Friday. It may not end up affecting you one way or another but I’d hate for you to be uninformed about such a significant legislature that might just alter the way you consume content on the Internet for the foreseeable future.
After learning the facts, you might just want to do something about it. If you’re an American, lucky you, you have the right to do so.