OPINION | SOPA and PIPA cause website outburst

Photo courtesy of MCT

Unless you have been living under a rock or have been hit by an electromagnetic pulse and electronic devices are not working, surely you have heard or seen something about the bills that the government is trying to pass.

Those bills are commonly referred to as SOPA and PIPA.

SOPA stands for ‘Stop Online Piracy Act’ and PIPA ‘Protect IP Act.’

While these bills seem good-natured to the core, there was an intense outburst by some websites.

It’s comparable to an epic battle between David and Goliath. The role of David carried out by Google, Wikipedia, Reddit and several smaller websites and Goliath played by the government.

Sure Google and Wikipedia are large and famous websites and companies that pose little to no threat against an entity such as the US government.

Google, known for its logo animation, put a black bar over their name brand to imitate that the bills were censoring content.

Wikipedia went a step further, and completely blacked out their website for 24 hours. Wikipedia’s call to action was for users to write to their local Congressmen to voice their opinions.

Why were such drastic measures taken for a seemingly well-intentioned bill?

The main concern was an infringement upon our rights as citizens laid out by the Constitution, specifically the First Amendment.

Critics claim the bill would essentially limit free speech and reduce innovation.

The day that Wikipedia was blacked out, a message on their site read, “Imagine a world without free knowledge.”

This comment was meant to be thought invoking, allowing for reflection on some things most of us probably take for granted in an upper echelon liberal arts university—the ease of which information is available to us, whether it be from a person, the library or the high speed internet connection offered.

These bills, though hopeful to protect copyright infringement especially from foreign countries, will drastically alter the Internet as we know it.

While that may or may not be a good occurrence, what is bad is how the world will react to such drastic changes.

Change is usually a gradual and continual process, but with the Internet being such a volatile environment, millions of dollars will be lost in translation.

If something as simple as going to every college student’s favorite websites for background information is altered to reflect content change, imagine the possibilities for other websites.

Do the right thing and educate yourself to form your own opinion of how such acts will affect not only yourself, but the rest of the world.


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One Comment;

  1. Joseph said:

    If it does pass, wouldn’t the American internet and everyone who supports it just move to another country, or even become rebels if the protest doesn’t work out? US would become just another grey area to the internet. Well I just doubt the internet can ever be truly stopped.