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SOPA Protest: The Web Goes on Strike

Wednesday, January 18th – major Internet sites like Wikipedia, Flickr, Reddit, and Moveon.org went on strike to protest two key pieces of legislation – SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act) and PIPA (Protect IP Act). Leading up this date, social media sites like Facebook and Twitter have been a buzz about the bill proposed by Rep. Lamar Smith (Texas).

The purpose of the House and it’s companion Senate bill are to make it harder for sites, in particular those located outside of the U.S, to sell or distribute pirated copyrighted material and goods. If your site is found in violation of these bills, Google will be required to delete any links to your site and it would also block payments from merchants like PayPal including Visa, Mastercard. While the intentions are good, SOPA and PIPA are not what the Internet need. If the bill were to pass, entire sites would be affected and shut down instead of just a portion of the site that is violating the bill. The bill ignores the fact that we already have a policy in place for such acts – the DCMA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) which requires web operators to removing infringing copyrighted material on their sites.

Wednesday’s protest brought together a passionate web community and had the desired effect.  Twitter registered 4,500 tweets a second related to SOPA/PIPA, people wrote and called their congress members which caused about roughly 20 members to withdraw support, however it’s not over yet. The bills will be amended and Rep. Lamar Smith plans to propose the bill again in February. You can still show your support against the bill by contacting your RepresentativesSen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, wrote on his Facebook page that Congress should slow down in pursuing the bills’ passage and that it is “better to get this done right rather than fast and wrong. Stealing content is theft, plain and simple, but concerns about unintended damage to the internet and innovation in the tech sector require a more thoughtful balance, which will take more time.”

What are your thoughts on SOPA/PIPA? Do you think the web needs this regulation or can it be amended in some way? We want to hear your thoughts and if you protested on Wednesday?

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