Why Do SOPA & PIPA Matter So Much Anyway?


pirateWhen I first heard rumblings about SOPA, I have to admit I thought someone's spell check had taken a day off. Who cares about soap? Or is it soup? I know I wasn't the only one scratching her head wondering: just what is SOPA anyway?

And now that we've been through a day of trying to work our way around a half-blacked-out Internet, the questions swirling around the Stop Online Piracy Act are just getting more complicated. So here it is, the four things you need to know about SOPA (and its sister PIPA) so you can sound like you know what you're talking about:

1. The Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) is an act introduced in the House of Representatives by House Judiciary Committee Chair and Texas Republican Lamar Smith (along with 12 co-sponsors) last fall. The Protect Intellectual Property Act (PIPA) is the Senate equivalent of SOPA.

2. The bills would give intellectual property owners the ability to demand that American-based sites no longer link to foreign sites containing content upon which they have a copyrighted claim. In other words, if a site based out of a European country is streaming an illegal movie, the American movie company can demand -- without any judicial review -- that a site like Google remove it from its search engine.

3. Because of the lack of judicial review and the broadness of the language, the bills come dangerously close to violating the Constitutional right to free speech. Essentially, SOPA would allow content owners to target U.S. websites that don't even know they're hosting pirated content. It could hurt major sites like Facebook, Twitter, Wikipedia, Reddit, and more, which depend on users to upload content and effectively black out much of the Internet.

4. Protests against both SOPA and PIPA are working. Already, in light of yesterday's mass blackout of sites, PIPA co-sponsor Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and SOPA co-sponsor Arizona Rep. Ben Quayle have pulled their names from the bills, and other legislators are following suit. Americans can sign their names to the protest at Stop American Censorship.

Are you supporting SOPA and PIPA, or are you joining the protest?


Image via fuzzcat/Flickr



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Monda... MondayisFired

You clearly haven't been doing enough research if you don't know why this matters. Under this bill, a site could be shut down with no notice, just because a company decided it was using copyrighted material (and what say, Disney, considers to be copyrighted material extends to something as innocent as a screenshot made into a meme) and the burden of proof would immediately fall upon the site owner to fight it.

Many people owe their livelihood to humor sites like Cracked, Memebase, and yes, even the Cheezeburger network. Lolcats.

The internet is a platform of free speech and the sharing of content in new and creative ways. Do some research on how this would impact it before you say it doesn't matter.

jagam... jagamama0710

Yep. ^^ 

ALSO, say a site put up that picture of the disney screenshot meme. Not only would that orginal site be down, but any site in anyway enables the original could be shut down as well. Someone links to the meme on another site? That site could be shut down. 

Why is there not more outrage about this on TheStir? Lots of jokes about how oh how will we look up our information with wikipedia being blocked out for 24 hours. Not a whole lot of seriousness until this post. 

The "10 piping hot posts" at the top of this page...over half of them are fluff nonsense. I see teen mom, twilight, glee, real housewives, kris humphries, and kendra wilkinson. This is a big deal. People need to realize what it is and start talking and contacting congress. 

.LoVe... .LoVeMyBuG.

Your an idiot if you don't see the huge problem with SOPA & PIPA, might want to continue your "research" 

nonmember avatar geez

I think the idiots are the previous posters. Obviously the author thinks it matters. It's a title posted in question form for those who are asking the same question. For goodness sake read the post, don't stop at the title!!

nonmember avatar pippas bum fan

I can't believe they want to stop Pippa and her sister Sopa. I love Pippa, she's stylish and has quite the derriere! What an outrage hundreds of thousands of online protests to these sisters; and one's now a princess! Oh the outrage! I weep and soil my 8x10 glossies of Pippa! SUPPORT PIPPA & HER SISTER SOPA-they are rarely online and mostly use smart phones. You have to ask yourself, "What would Pippas bum do?"

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