Why So Dark and Gloomy?

By Ben Spielberg and Josh Silver

I’ve been hearing a lot about the “Stop Online Piracy Act,” but I haven’t been sure as to what it actually is. Websites I tend to visit often—like Google, Wikipedia, and WordPress—are going “dark” and censoring themselves in protest of the bill. But what does it all mean? After trudging through some of the political jargon and legal nuances, I’ve figured out some reasons as to why this is such a controversial act on behalf of the House of Representatives.

The bill sounds good. It claims to “promote prosperity and creativity.” However, the result of it could be devastating; some even claim that if SOPA passes, the restrictive effect could be equivalent to the desolate cyberspace of the Great Firewall of China. Why? Because of the bill’s vehement stance against posting copyrighted material, sites that have user-generated content—for example, YouTube or this blog—could be shut down indefinitely if just one person infringes on copyright law. Want to show everybody that new remix of Michael Jackson’s Thriller? Nope, your account could very well be suspended. And while YouTube can suspend your account, smaller websites could have that entire user-base blacklisted and removed from Google.

I know what you’re thinking. Who would ever support this? The RIAA. The MPAA. The same people who are already in control of music and movie rights.

darkness, this sucks, blackout, darkout, going darkThe reality is that it’s really hard to launch a website and not violate a couple arbitrary copyright laws. Even a sponsor for SOPA violated copyright laws by using a picture that’s under the Creative Commons without detailing the proper sourcing. If the law that he sponsors passes, his website would be immediately shut down.  If you are against this law and others like it make yourself known.  Contact your local congressman, blog about it, do what you can to save the freedom of the internet.

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2 Responses to Why So Dark and Gloomy?

  1. rongoldberg says:

    In fact it’s a poor written law for a complex question. I’m not convinced there are ‘good’ and ‘bad’ sides here. Both the Entertainment Industry and the general public both have rights and interests in the matter. This proposed law seems to be a first attempt and it needs refinement. On another note, thanks for offering some insight and advancing the debate on this topic.

  2. Pingback: It’s a bird, it’s a plane; it’s a Superbowl Ad | BTS Communications

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