Over the next week, you will hopefully see lots of posts about PIPA and SOPA, bills that major companies I trust (at least more than the government) say will effectively censor the internet. The intent is to fight online piracy, but Stop Online Privacy Act (SOPA, House of Representatives) and Protect IP ACT (PIPA, Senate) are NOT the way to do this.
I am not the best person to explain this, so here is a link to a very easy to understand blog about PIPA and SOPA and the effect they will have on the internet as we know it. Read it, explore the issue on your own, (I am a very strong supporter of doing your own research), and if SOPA and PIPA scare you as much as they scare me, tell your representatives that you oppose SOPA and PIPA.
The important things for me are:
-Sites like Google and Tumblr will have to use censorship technology developed in countries like China and Iran. Our government is developing anti-censorship technology to free the internet in these same countries. To me, part of being American is being free. SOPA and PIPA challenge that assumption.
-The technology needed for a company to be compliant with SOPA and PIPA is EXPENSIVE. This is bad news for small businesses and start ups. Facebook and youtube were start ups not too long ago. I can't remember life before them. Change isn't bad, it's inevitable. The internet allows the common man some input into what the next generation of change will be.
-SOPA and PIPA will NOT stop online piracy. To quote the Reddit Blog I linked to earlier in this post:
SOPA and PROTECT IP contain no provisions to actually remove copyrighted content, but rather focus on the censorship of links to entire domains.
Pirates are kind of good technology. How long do you think it will take before they develop a workaround? Taking away freedom does nothing to limit criminal behavior.