SOPA, PIPA, and the Message Behind Today’s Internet Blackout

Today is an important day in Internet history.

It’s one that’s probably going to surprise and frustrate a lot of people, but know that it’s at least well-intentioned frustration because in order for this amazing communications tool that we all love and use every day to remain a haven for innovation and creativity and free speech, it’s important that the less tech savvy among us also understand the bills that Congress is currently proposing that will forever change the landscape of how the Information Superhighway works today.

The bills are called SOPA and PIPA, and essentially they’re aimed at protecting the major Hollywood movie and record companies from piracy of their intellectual property. And the goal itself is a noble effort because these people most certainly deserve to be compensated for their work, however from a technical perspective the methods being suggested by these bills are dangerously out of control and will have implications far greater than what those suggesting these methods are willing to admit.

Essentially they would be akin to demanding that a city remove all of its street signs for a complaint that there’s a drug dealer living somewhere on one of them – instead of effectively dealing directly with the offending parties, they’re wanting to implement a scatter bomb approach that not only won’t actually impact the true nature of online piracy, but will also hobble websites and service providers into censoring potentially undesirable content for fear of being effectively banned from the Internet themselves.

So it’s in protest of these ill thought-out bills that sites big and small around the Internet will be taking a stand to show the world what our online community could be like in a world where SOPA and PIPA become law and censorship of the web is as simple as a complaint that you pointed in the direction of somebody else committing acts of piracy. Some user-generated websites like Wikipedia and Reddit have opted to block access to their content entirely because the risk of a single user being able to bring their entire site down is simply too much of a risk, while others are doing all that they can to highlight the grave concerns of this rogue legislation from their own unique perspectives. It’s an opportunity to see the true potential of SOPA and PIPA from a variety of corners on the Internet, but rest assured that unless you happen to run a major Hollywood movie studio, no good can come to your online experience by allowing a single industry carte blanche authority to ban entire websites with a complete lack of due process or intelligent oversight…

Learn more about these bills and how they threaten the fundamentals behind how the Internet works today, sign the petition to tell Congress that censoring the Internet isn’t the way to fight online piracy, and help spread the word to ensure that all of our friends and family understand that SOPA and PIPA will affect everyone who uses the Internet, regardless of whether you’ve actually done anything wrong or not.

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