So, you woke up this morning and you wondered what year Diana Ross recorded Muscles because for some reason you were dreaming about it last night. You turn and ask your significant other and they just shrugged you off, mumbling something about single people not being woke up with silly questions. So, you hit your obvious next step….
At least not today.
Yep, Wikipedia, reddit, boingboing, and even Google (to a lesser extent) are all going black today to protest S.O.P.A. or Stop Online Piracy Act.
WHAT IS S.O.P.A.???
A little piece of legislation that has been proposed and will be voted on this week that, in a nutshell, will begin to hold the hosting providers responsible for the things people upload,which, if these things happen to be copyrighted material, would make them have to start pulling websites down or face fines.
It will make search engines responsible for having such links in their results, causing Google or Yahoo to have to remove links. The law would make the providers guilty of ‘facilitating’ copyright infringement, since they can’t get to the individuals. This legislation and others like it will effectively censor the web, making it hard for any and everyone to have at the very least, a YOUTUBE page.
Now the real targets here are not the casual web user or even the occasional Hulkshare downloader. No, the real marks in this case are sites that offer links to copyrighted material like torrents, since these sites are believed to be responsible for the majority of the illegal file-sharing in the U.S. The only issue is that these sites are normally originating overseas where the U.S. anti-piracy laws have no bearing.
This is why S.O.P.A. was created. To limit the U.S. web user’s access to these scofflaw sites. Sounds innocent, right?
Problem with that is that the bill’s language doesn’t limit its scope to pirated movies or music.
In the simplest terms, if passed, S.O.P.A., would allow absolutely anyone with copyrights to any image, in any form, to complain to any law enforcement agency that the image is being used on a website without its consent. The agency would be required by law to force whomever is using the image to shut down.
But the law doesn’t stop there. Any site that has been linked to that same image would also be force by the same law to also shut down, essentially shutting down the internet.