SOPA: Can it affect YOU?

12/30/2011

SOPA or Stop Online Piracy Act is a bill introduced in the United States House of Representatives towards the end of this year which plans to fight online piracy by allowing the U.S. Department of Justice, as well as copyright holders to seek court against websites providing material that violates copyright laws.

There is a lot of debate whether this bill should be passed or not. On one side we have nearly 150 giants of the media industry that include, but are not limited to ABC, CBS, Comcast/NBC Universal, Microsoft, Dell, MasterCard, The MPAA, and Sony Music amongst many others. And on the opposing side we have some other giants which include Google, Yahoo!, AOL, GoDaddy, and Mozilla Corporation, amongst the greatest.

Basically, what SOPA pretends to do is to block access to certain websites which store and deliver illegal media, regardless of whether their servers are in the United States, and prosecute legal actions against them. Other websites which deal with these illegal websites will have to stop any activity with each other. For instance, Google will not be able to display them amongst their search results and PayPal will not be able to do monetary transactions for them.

Many websites have been warned by the EFF about the likeability of their end if the bill passes, including Flickr (Yahoo!’s personal media posting) and Vimeo (online video posting, similar to YouTube). Some other websites have threatened themselves to shut down if this bill goes through. They include Twitter, GoDaddy, and PayPal amongst others.

So how does SOPA affects you? Well, for starters, major personal media sharing websites like blogs, online media posting and probably even social websites will be shut down. You would now be more restrained at the time to upload your videos, pictures or even your own opinion online or simply sharing on Facebook.

On top of this, legal action could be taken against ANYONE possessing fraudulently or found sharing copyrighted material without proper permissions. Think of the suppression this will have in the spreading of cultural art. People will no longer be able to post covers of their favorite songs online, hoping to one day being “discovered” and give their contribution to their beloved art.

But the major way this bill will affect business is by the migration of lots of businesses overseas. Afraid of legal action, many companies will move their headquarters abroad in hope of a little more of freedom (SOPA expects to be able to take action against website outside of the United States as well). This will obviously cause a great dent in the economy.

So what can you do if you are against the Internet censorship?

– First and most important, educate yourself. Make sure you are on the right side. Go online and do further research, hear both sides of the story and make a better informed decision.

– Then, go online to websites supporting your cause. They can be found through a simple Google search. There you will find ways to show your support.

– Spread the word: Tell your friends and family. Blog about it (before it is too late). Use any means you find effective to get your message across.

– Stay informed: Being aware of development is very important. Every day the battles go on and the giants keep switching sides (like GoDaddy recently did). Keep reading the news and hope for the best.

The Telx Computers Team is always researching the latest trends that affect the IT Business world and the Internet. We will always keep you informed and if you have any question please contact our Help Desk number. We are here to help.