SOPA

Well a few days ago, on the 18th, in protest to the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) many websites participated in some sort of blackout. Google censored its logo, Wikipedia went into a complete blackout and WordPress allowed its users to either blackout their blogs, display an anti-censorship banner on their blogs or both. Since I didn’t get the email until the day after when I actually checked my email account, I couldn’t blackout my blog -sigh of disappoinment- but I was able to show my support to the cause with the banner.

For those who don’t know what SOPA is and don’t want a lengthy explanation written at a level that only college professors could understand, I’ll just cut to the chase and tell you why everyone was so mad about it: it was going to censor websites that are based in the United States that had any material that was copywrited. For example, a media sharing website called megaupload was shutdown and some people involved with the website were charged with a number of federal crimes.

You can see why this would upset people, not just in the United States, but around the world. It hinders our freedom of speech and even hurts businesses that may be selling items that belong to other companies; like if a small cupcake shop’s website puts up a large company’s cupcake recipe. That small cupcake shop would have to shut down its website and any other website that is affiliated with that website would have to cut all ties. If the shop and anyone involved were to refuse, they’d face jail time.

Luckily, the SOPA bill has been so strongly protested against that it has been indefinitely postponed. While that is a triumph, it’s isn’t a complete victory because at any time the bill could rear its ugly head and threaten the users of the internet all over again. So pay attention and do your part in this or any cause that you believe is important. Because if you don’t stand up for your rights, then they’ll eventually go away.

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