Today some websites like Wikipedia and Reddit are in Blackout mode. This is preventing access to their normal website content.
Other sites like Google and Mozilla are creating virtual protests. Google placed what looks like black duct tape over their logo. Mozilla changed the normal white background to black and added a “stop censorship” banner over their logo.
The reason these sites are in blackout and protest mode is to bring awareness against SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act) and PIPA (Protect Intellectual Property Act) two pending bills in the House of Representatives and the Senate. Some say if these bills pass, the Internet in America could change completely from the way we know it.
Many Internet tech and social media companies feel passing SOPA and PIPA threatens free speech and the Internet itself. Those that are for passing the bills, feel it will control piracy and protect intellectual and copyrighted material.
Here’s a brief description of what these two laws do:
PIPA allows the US government to block public access to any website accused of copyright infringement - without a proper trial.
SOPA allows the U.S. Attorney General to seek a court order against a targeted offshore Web site that would, in turn, be served on Internet providers in an effort to make the target virtually disappear. (Blocks from search engines like Bing, Yahoo, and Google)
Some people think SOPA and PIPA are dead because the Obama Administration declared the other day that they “will not support” any bill “that reduces freedom of expression, increases cybersecurity risk, or undermines the dynamic, innovative global Internet. Here’s and article from Forbes with a response to that. Click Here
SOPA and PIPA bring up many issues and tackling each concern can become very complex. The idea is to stop piracy and protect business assets. Really though this is all about money.
I’m all for people getting paid for their work. I’m also a huge advocate for freedom and first amendment rights.
I stumbled across an experiment by one of my favorite comics Louis CK . He addresses many of the copyright and piracy concerns that SOPA and PIPA are trying to solve. He seems to be able to keep things open and free as well as make a decent amount of cash without the laws.
DRM Free Louis CK
Hopefully, all the tech and political speak didn't throw you off. As I said before the ideas of the bills can get quite complex. I tried referencing to articles that make it a little easier to understand. If you run across anything else that could simplify things, just drop me a line.