What if you couldn’t check what is happening on Facebook? Or are forbidden to use Google, Wikipedia, or even play Farmville? For me, I can’t imagine going a day without these services. However, there is currently a lot of action surrounding two new bills that are gaining a lot of support in Congress. These bills are known as the” Stop Online Privacy Act” (SOPA) and “Protect IP Act” (PIPA). As you may know, these bills are being heavily supported by the RIAA and music companies because of the issues of privacy and their “intellectual property” such as movies and music. If these bills were to pass, the US Government would basically have to power to censor an entire website.
The bills have drawn so much controversy and many big Internet companies are openly speaking out against SOPA and PIPA. Many companies including Facebook, Twitter, EBay, Google, Yahoo, and Zynga have signed a “NetCoalition industry letter” that was sent to Congress. There are reports that these companies may even consider a blackout of their services if necessary. Markham Erickson of the NetCoalition stated “this type of thing doesn’t happen because companies typically don’t want to put their users in that position… The difference is that these bills so fundamentally change the way the Internet works. People need to understand the effect this special-interest legislation will have on those who use the Internet.”
Issues involving copyright and privacy are becoming more prevalent these days because of the development of technology. While protecting the intellectual property of these companies is important, there are much better ways than a complete censorship. I think if the government passes those bills, it will become a huge set back and cause a lot of unhappy people. We have all become accustomed to the Internet freedom that we currently have. Congress needs to stop listening to the Hollywood lobbyist and understand what effects of these bills. A few days without Facebook seems better than complete censorship. From ABC News: ‘Internet Censorship’? Would Websites Go Dark Battling Hollywood? would give you more valuable information about those bills.
Below is a great infographic by Ivan Tolmachev about SOPA and the dangers of it: