With the long arm of the internet reaching into sleepy little towns and backwoods of the world even the big cities little brother Brisbane, felt the affect of the black-out of the web. The sit-in style protest was in response to the proposed SOPA/PIPA (Stop Online Piracy Act and Protect IP Act) bills to be passed through the US Senate.
These two bills would give the US Government unprecedented power to order take-down and blocking notices on foreign sites found to be infringing on copyright material such as music and movies. Now the big media players (movie studios, record labels and TV networks) are of course in firm support, while on the other side are sit open source platforms, social media and search engines. All of the sites sitting in opposition would be linked to the sites that are to be brought down by the SOPA/PIPA bills.
So what does this mean for you?
The chief concern is putting the censorship of U.S. based web players (let’s face it that is the majority of the sites we are interested in) in the hands of the U.S. Government. Not only that but a search engine like Google (or whatever those other ones are) will no longer find the sites being accused of containing pirated material no matter where they are because Google is of course US based.
Who is against SOPA?
The majority of big tech players are denouncing SOPA and it’s effect on the web. Here is a list of 40 companies that are opposing SOPA put together by the website techcrunch.
The list includes big names:
Facebook, eBay/PayPal, Google, Yahoo, Kaspersky, Reddit, Quora, Tumblr, AOL, Twitter, Scribd, Github, Mozilla, Foursquare, Square.
There are a lot of political interactions to go on before the bill gets passed. If it does but only with a small majority say 60/40, it can still be vetoed by President Obama which given the right circumstances may be in his political best interest.
So for now let’s keep up the noise. Whether in Brisbane, Washington or Uzbekistan this censorship of the internet is a very dangerous prospect. As a Brisbane based web designer the internet is my playground and I don’t want the US government taking away my chance to play on the swings or restrict access to the monkey bars cause the last kid to play on them new some bad kids.
If I want to make a stand against piracy I will choose to do it myself as a lot of my Brisbane friends already do by purchasing their movies and music online or in store. Make your opinion heard in whatever way possible, social networking, blogging or just talking to your friends about it. You can make a difference in what could be one of the biggest changes to the online landscape in the last 10 years.