If you haven’t heard of SOPA by now, chances are that you’re going to hear about it at some point in time today. Many websites are “blackedout ” today in protest of the proposed censorship bill. Just go to Google, and you will see the iconic colorful logo blacked out.
To provide a little bit of context to the conversation, let’s discuss what exactly SOPA is. SOPA is an acronym for the Stop Online Piracy act which was introduced in October of 2011 by House Judiciary Committee Chair and Texas Republican Lamar Smith, along with 12 co-sponsors.
In short the bill, gives intellectual property owners the ability to pull the plug on foreign sites against whom they have a copyright claim. For example if Warner Brothers catches wind of a website streaming it’s movies in Italy, they can in essence demand Google to remove the site from it’s search results, have ads pulled and force PayPal to stop payments from going to accounts associated with these sites.
The bill as is claimed is aimed for sites outside of the U.S., but just like when a small price increase is proposed, rarely is what is proposed what actually comes out to be. This is where the internet community as a whole takes issue.
This bill could be turned on domestic websites, and your favorite websites can be pulled without notice or warning. Some sites may deserve to be pulled, but then again who is the government to tell us what we can watch, visit or view in our homes?
SOPA as a Jobs Killer
With one sweeping piece of legislation, SOPA would single handedly set back the economy for years. This would be one of the biggest job killers ever introduced because it would create a new era of uncertainty for American businesses.
Law-biding U.S. internet companies would have to track and monitor everything users link or upload to their sites or face the risk of costly litigation. What small business owner wants to deal with that?
Companies such as AOL, Facebook, Google, LinkedIn and Twitter all wrote letters to congress stressing how the bill will “pose a serious risk to our industry’s continued track record of innovation and job-creation.”
Over 55 of the most successful Venture Capitalist and 204 entrepreneurs met with congress and expressed their concerns on how the bill would hurt economic growth and stifle innovation.
There are other ways to stop piracy, but going after the internet which has launched more entrepreneurs than any other time in this nation’s history isn’t it. Jobs are at stake. The internet has afforded me and countless others the opportunity to reach millions via this platform.
The internet was also built on the same principals that this country was founded upon, freedom and liberty. Just because the internet doesn’t have a voice or a face doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be afforded those same rights.
Let your voice be heard.