Do you know about SOPA and PIPA? You should, because if these bills pass it would cause huge changes in the way the Internet works, stifling innovation, reducing economic growth and reducing or eliminating free expression and social media. The bills are currently being considered by the U.S. House of Representatives (“Stop Online Piracy Act” – SOPA, which is H.R. 3261) and the U.S. Senate (“PROTECT-IP Act” – PIPA, which is S. 968), and while pressure from Internet experts, companies and everyday users has begun to force the bills’ supporters to backtrack somewhat, there’s still a possibility that they could pass in their current form, which would be a disaster.
In short, the bills were requested by owners and creators of intellectual property, i.e. music, films, television, etc. The entertainment industry. As a writer and creator of intellectual property myself, I respect the idea that artists should be paid fairly for their work. Piracy does harm that, I agree. But SOPA and PIPA are the legislative equivalent of wiping out a hornet’s nest with mortar shell. It’s overkill. It’s the kind of overkill the entertainment industry has always wanted, though – recall the battles over the Digital Millenium Copyright Act back in 1998, which originally would have had similar net censorship powers.
This video by Fight For The Future describes the bills and their potential impact on the way we use the Internet: