5 Ways the 'Internet Censorship' Bill Will Wreck the Web as We Know It


broken laptopAs if the House of Representatives had nothing better to do, several people in Congress have proposed a bill called the Stop Online Piracy Act or SOPA, which is basically one big booty-kiss to the entertainment industry and a major kiss-OFF to Silicon Valley, aka the big tech companies we know and love -- Google, Facebook, Twitter, etc. The name alone may give you flashbacks of downloading illegal MP3s on Napster and thinking the cops were going to come to your house and confiscate your PowerBook that was filled to the brim with ripped tracks by Sisqo and Dido. But this bill really has nothing to do with that ... it's much, much worse.

Here, the five scariest things about this bill that we have to hope and pray never becomes a law or else bye-bye Internet as we know it ...

  1. It would basically shut down the Internet. SOPA's an attempt to "help" entertainment companies (music labels, Hollywood film studios) that are fed up with people consuming their copyrighted works for free. But the way it's designed, the bill would make it possible for these showbiz giants to basically block the domain names of websites that are capable of or seem to encourage copyright infringement. See how disturbingly open-ended that is? That means that if you post a picture of, oh, I don't know, Charlie Brown with his cute little Christmas tree on your Facebook wall, Facebook could be blocked, because ABC says they lay claim to Charlie. Drrrrr. 
  2. It would turn us all into creepy hackers. The way it is written now, with really sweeping, vague language, the bill is basically a broad assault on any or all or potential forms of online piracy. But it wouldn't really work to counter piracy at all, because it can't block IP addresses. You know, the numbers behind a website ... so ultimately, if someone who wanted to pirate knew what the IP address was for Twitter, they could very easily cut around the law, and then, what ... we'd all have to remember all these ridiculous numerical URLs and start surfing the web like sneaky criminals? Ridiculous!
  3. We'd have to say "bye-bye" to having fun online. Just to avoid going to court, websites accused of piracy or encouraging piracy would probably just start taking down tons of content to appease the entertainment companies. What the heck fun would that be? Bye-bye, hours wasted on YouTube!
  4. Cool new websites won't have a chance in hell. The next Biz Stones and Mark Zuckerbergs will be all be too freaked out that they'd be disobeying this bill without even meaning to, so there would be less creativity, innovation, freedom on the web. Sounds like a nightmare in the making!
  5. It gives the big guys even more power than they already have. We love movies and music, and we're often willing to pay when they're worth the $12+ ticket or $1.29/download, etc. But we love our little guys on our laptop screens just as much, and sometimes we'd prefer to watch or listen to content on Facebook, Hulu, or a friend's Tumblr. This bill would kill that experience -- so wrong!

If you want to do something about SOPA, there are various measures you can take to fight back.

Do you think this bill sounds like bad news for the Internet?


Image via Jared Tarbell/Flickr

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Kris Gamble

You know, I found out when you download a movie online, its not Hollywood that loses out, its the independent filmakers. You know why our movies have been sucking lately? Because piracy takes away so much of the industry's money (even if you say you wouldn't have bought it anyways, the facts are they make less money) that they are going with safer and safer bets.

So thanks to piracy, we are stuck with crappy music and crappy movies, because the people who lose out are the ones who are more creative and less sparkly.

Vanil... Vanilla_rayne

I don't think it'll pass but you never know. It would ruin the fun on the internet for sure =(

Argentina Iraheta

I listen to a lot of artists that give their music away for free online and encourage "sharing". They make money off performances in any case, not so much off of album sales. This bill sounds ridiculous. It just ensure that the wealthy execs get a bigger pay check than they already make. It won't pass, and if it does, you can bet there will be a HUGE backlash.

Elena Gladoun

Actually studies have shown that piracy increases purchases from consumers. Why? Because we aren't so ready to spend SO MUCH money on an item we aren't sure of the credibility of. Also PIRACY is a word implemented by these media GIANTS to socially affect your psychology and negatively condition us against FILE SHARING (see how that term has been pretty much wiped from our vocabulary? and why? Because it doesn't sound so bad when put that way, does it?)

Sarah Bentley

I do not have a phone, so my only way of talking to people is online. The internet has saved mine, and a few of my friends lives. Also, I have talked a few out of suicide using internet. It is OUR choice, to log on the computer, and see what people have put online. It is OUR choice to be dramatic about things we see online. It is OUR choice to speak our minds, and let our emotions be heard online. Lots of students use the internet to work on homework, and get help from others. Lots of people use the internet to communicate with family and friends making plans and talking privately. The internet should NOT be taken away..

Kris Gamble

@Elena well yes but in the end, its not the media giants that suffer, they aren't going to allow a hit in their profits, it would be more likely to hit the little people

Natalie Smith

Kris Gamble, you could not be more wrong. Movies suck because people pay $12, $20, etc...for crap. Name someone who is honestly talented who just can't get ahead because of piracy? I always pay for concerts. I pay for good movies. Notice I said good. All the other crap gets no love...and why does it get no love? because since "piracy", the movie and music industry giants have scrambled to turn out any "safe" turd they can---why do you think every movie, song, etc. is a remake?!? Because it's alreasy made money once. they know it will again to some degree. If one thing has success they just duplicate it, playing that same string until it gets old. Everything becomes a reproduction of other crap that's already made money, nothing original. C'mon man

nonmember avatar jill

I don't see how this is legal - existing copyright/patent/trademark laws protect against piracy. It's the true owner's responsibility to defend their works, and we don't need a bill to make it any easier.

Char_... Char_gal4

Awful.  I guess these big execs got this idea from China.  What's next?  Take down a good fanfiction a kid wrote, because it is "theirs"?  Nice!  Then since it is legally Hollywood's, they can make that fanart/fanfiction into a blockbuster!  This will not only shut down the Internet, but will also allow the Bigs to take anything they want from those who write/draw fanart for fun.  And FOR FREE

Jr Kishi

This horrific display is nothing more than a greedy display for the wealthy to oppress the poor! Disgusting, simply disgusting. One of our country's selling points is in our freedom. What freedom is this? Tell me Legislation. Take Google? I guarantee you those who still have something like it will find a way to raise hell in this country in less than a day and no one will know shit about it. Take down facebook? Suicide will increase and people around the world will lose a vital means of communication. Take down youtube and other streamers? Sales will DECREASE. Why? Because there will be no initial way to interest people in good movies or other forms of media for free. You know what this is? The US' cheap attempt at taking away the freedom they apparently regret giving to the people because the US is currently run by self-serving, greedy, money-grubbing CEO pigs and sparkly airheads who wouldn't know quality media if it bit them in the skull.

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