In November, we mentioned the House hearing regarding the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and its possible ramifications if passed. On Wednesday (January 18), thousands of websites (including Concrete Loop) participated in a widespread blackout in protest of SOPA and its Senate counterpart, the PROTECT IP Act (PIPA).
While these bills are aimed at fighting online piracy, the methods used to do so could essentially allow the government and corporations to dictate everything about the internet experience for you, as demonstrated in the video below.
The online protest resulted in decreased support from Congress, including bill co-sponsor Marco Rubio (R-FL), who many consider a rising star and possible vice presidential contender in the upcoming election, who mentioned “legitimate concerns about the impact the bill could have on access to the Internet and about a potentially unreasonable expansion of the federal government’s power to impact the Internet.” The Senate is expected to vote on PIPA January 24, while the House will resume work on SOPA next month.
Over the weekend, the White House offered its take on combating online piracy:
Any effort to combat online piracy must guard against the risk of online censorship of lawful activity and must not inhibit innovation by our dynamic businesses large and small. We must avoid creating new cybersecurity risks or disrupting the underlying architecture of the Internet. That is why the Administration calls on all sides to work together to pass sound legislation this year that provides prosecutors and rights holders new legal tools to combat online piracy originating beyond U.S. borders while staying true to the principles outlined above in this response. We expect and encourage all private parties, including both content creators and Internet platform providers working together, to adopt voluntary measures and best practices to reduce online piracy.
As the fight continues prior to the Senate vote beginning on Tuesday, it’s imperative that we all let Congress know how we feel about this legislation as it will greatly impact and possibly forever change the internet as we know it.