If you've been even half paying attention to the news lately, chances are you've heard some talk about SOPA and PIPA (not to be confused with Pippa Middleton - big difference). Websites and many participants in various forms of social media have 'blacked out' their pages in protest, but maybe you're not exactly 100% sure what exactly is being protested. Allow me to try to shed a little bit of light on this.
SOPA is the Stop Online Piracy Act, a United States bill in the House of Representatives which claims to crack down on copyright infringement on the internet by restricting access to sites that host or facilitate the trading of pirated content. Its main targets are sites that are hosted overseas, but there in lies a significant challenge: it's very hard for US companies to take action against foreign sites. The SOPA solution? Requiring US search engines and other providers to withhold their services. This bill is very similar to its Senate counterpart, PIPA (the Protect IP Act).
So what's the problem? Copyrighted material has that protection for a reason - stealing is wrong and this material is someone's property. How could anyone think that this is a bad thing? As I understand it, there's another issue at hand: Censorship. Should this law go into effect, the way that people share information will drastically change because US based companies will be forced to limit what we can see and do. Sites we all know (and usually love) such as Google, YouTube, Facebook, Wikipedia, etc.
Now I'm a library student. To say that my profession is not a fan of censorship is a bit of an understatement. Information is power and while I do of course believe that copyright holders should absolutely fight for their works and the rights they have to them, I do not believe that SOPA is the answer to solving Internet piracy as it exists today. Also, if you want access to music, movies, literature, information, etc. for free, I highly suggest you pay a visit to your local library. *shameless plug*
So SOPA is giving people headaches to put it mildly. Part of me does like the passionate response I've seen from people on this issue, and I hope that lawmakers are paying attention. The Internet has so much to offer us, such as GIVEAWAYS!
*insert happy dance here*
That's right, readers. One of my favorite blogs Literary Rambles is having a book giveaway in honor of now having 2000 followers. First off, congrats! What an achievement! If you ever have questions about children's books, authors, agents, and publishers, this blog is a fantastic resource and I highly recommend you check them out. If you want to try to get in on the book giveaway action, head on over to their blog, become a follower, tweet/blog about their contest, and then comment on their post to let them know about it.
See, government, the web isn't all evil =)
This business with SOPA/PIPA is far from over, and there's plenty more to discuss about it. If I'm misunderstanding this bill and what it's about, I highly encourage you to post in the comments below and let's make it right. Oh, and happy reading.