Copyright NEIU Independent
The Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) is an illegitimate son of Hollywood fathered by our very own house lobbyists. God forbid, if passed, this bill literally can shut down all user-content websites such as YouTube and Wikipedia, among others. The legislation would authorize law enforcers to remove an entire internet domain due to something posted on a single blog, arguing that an entire online community could be punished for the actions of a tiny minority.
SOPA’s older sister is the PROTECT IP Act (Preventing Real Online Threats to Economic Creativity and Theft of Intellectual Property Act of 2011 or PIPA) bill of senate. According to BBC, PIPA is a re-write of the Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act (COICA), which failed to pass in 2010, the failure eventually led to the formation of SOPA.
Let me ask you a simple question, how many of your professors showed you videos of YouTube as part of their lectures? How many of you had to upload your projects to YouTube, and/or on Google Docs? Imagine a world without Wikipedia, YouTube, and most importantly, Google, you have no free and easy access to information and education, you don’t have any online help for your assignments, do you want to live in a world like that? If yes, how long you think you can survive in that distopia?
ABC News reported that the White House said that as of last Wednesday, 104,000 people had signed “We the People petitions asking the Obama Administration to protect an open and innovative internet.” Jimmy Wales, the head of Wikipedia, said 162 million people clicked on his site’s message opposing the bills, “now 35 Senators publicly opposing PIPA, up from 5 last week! 41 no votes and we win,” he tweeted on January 19th.
So are the bills dead? In their existing forms they were already in trouble. The House version had been put on hold by House Majority Leader Eric Cantor even before last Wednesday’s protest. And in the Senate, Sen. Patrick Leahy, an original co-sponsor, had last week promised amendments to address the concerns of website managers, and, significantly, at least a dozen senators who supported the bill, according to various head counts, have now publicly backed off.”
Cinemablend.com writes that, in response to all the protesters against SOPA and PIPA, the MPAA (Motion Pictures of America Association) lashed out against them in a letter published on Tech Crunch. In it they call the looming blackout a “prank” and accuse anyone who disagrees with this dangerous legislation of being a “corporate pawn”. “Ironic when you consider that the entire purpose of the bill is to protect corporate interests at the expense of free speech.
Cinema Blend concluded that, “combine previous shunning down of several file sharing websites in the past with these rumors of funding cuts from Hollywood backers miffed that the President isn’t backing their play for SOPA power and that message is clear: It doesn’t matter whether Congress passes SOPA or not, Hollywood is taking control anyway, and has power to shut down websites already.”
Wikipedia, during the black out, commented that, “In a post SOPA/PIPA world, Wikipedia and many other useful informational sites, cannot survive in a world where politicians regulate the Internet based on the influence of big money in Washington. It represents a framework for future restrictions and suppression. Congress says it’s trying to protect the rights of copyright owners, but the “cure” that SOPA and PIPA represent is much more destructive than the disease they are trying to fix.”
I personally just cannot imagine life without Wikipedia. No Wikipedia means certainly no free information, which means no free access to education, which makes this world a jungle not a civilized humane society. I remember discovering it on my college PC back in 2004. I did not had PC at home, and I remember being in a huge line outside lab every morning so I can get a hold of a PC and all I end up doing was surfing just Wikipedia to quench my thirst of knowledge, it educated me and kind of made me what I’m today.