Shortly after President Obama announced he would veto SOPA (the Stop Online Piracy Act), House leaders also announced that all action on SOPA will be stopped, killing the bill before it even made it to the President’s desk, according to a blogger for The Examiner.
SOPA, largely backed by the Motion Pictures Association of America, met with huge protest online, due to its infringements upon freedom of speech. Major websites like Reddit, Boing Boing and Wikipedia threatened a 12 hour blackout this Wednesday.
Per Boing Boing’s statement on their website on January 14th:
Boing Boing could never co-exist with a SOPA world: we could not ever link to another website unless we were sure that no links to anything that infringes copyright appeared on that site. So in order to link to a URL on LiveJournal or WordPress or Twitter or Blogspot, we’d have to first confirm that no one had ever made an infringing link, anywhere on that site. Making one link would require checking millions (even tens of millions) of pages, just to be sure that we weren’t in some way impinging on the ability of five Hollywood studios, four multinational record labels, and six global publishers to maximize their profits.
However, PIPA (the Protect IP Act), the Senate’s version of SOPA, is still up for a vote.
The two bills had similar agendas– to tackle online piracy by attacking it on a DNS level, preventing American search engines like Google and Yahoo from directing users to sites distributing allegedly stolen materials. Note the word “allegedly.” The bills basically allow large companies to take down any site by alleging copyright infringement. If copyright infringement is alleged against your site (on any single page), it vanishes before you are even made aware of the claim.
Piracy and copyright infringement is bad and certainly a problem within the online universe, but the process outlined in these bills is censorship at a horrible level. We love the internet. We’d like to keep it.
Due to PIPA still being on the table, the blackout on Wednesday is still scheduled to go on.