SOPA: An Introduction and How It Will Affect Me

“Imagine a world without free knowledge.” I will be the first to admit that I do not know much about laws or how the courts work. When I saw this SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act) news breaking out all over Twitter, Facebook, and Google, I couldn’t help but look. SOPA is defined by the Huffington Post as an act “which is designed to thwart copyright infringement but that Web experts warn could threaten the functionality of the Internet.” This is scary.

The biggest fear for some reporters is Wikipedia. Since Wikipedia is being accused for online piracy, the site could shut down forever. If this bill passes, intellectual property owners, like movie studios and record labels, can pull information from sites like Google and Wikipedia due to online piracy running rampant throughout the internet. Reporters are astonished that these companies can shut down a site WITHOUT a court order or anything. For example.. Say you wanted to look up a name of a character in Finding Nemo, the Pixar animated film. You go to wikipedia.org or google.com expecting to look up this information, yet you are not allowed to see it because the content on these websites has been revoked by Disney. Could you imagine a world where we are looking for something and someone tells us to  “Google it”?!

I began reading an article from Gizmodo, and my heart sank. I read this paragraph with horror:

SOPA also includes an “anti-circumvention” clause, which holds that telling people how to work around SOPA is nearly as bad as violating its main provisions. In other words: if your status update links to The Pirate Bay, Facebook would be legally obligated to remove it. Ditto tweets, YouTube videos, Tumblr or WordPress posts, or sites indexed by Google. And if Google, Twitter, WordPress, Facebook, etc. let it stand? They face a government “enjoinment.” They could and would be shut down.

THIS IS ABSOLUTELY HORRIBLE. Not only will we be able to look up pertinent random facts anymore, but our internet lives may be shut down. My whole life is spoken about in those last few sentences.. my YOUTUBE account would be useless, and my TUMBLR would be pointless. Most importantly, I have all my e-mails and projects on GOOGLE, my entire professional portfolio on WORDPRESS, my friends and their lives on FACEBOOK, and most importantly I LOVE TWITTER. What would I do without it? How would I learn about news, see new articles on things that interest me, keep up with my favorite non-profits, and tweet about topics that interest me in one concise site? How will I use social media to get a job through my social media management skills and undergraduate research?

My entire LIFE is on the inernet. I know this is a horrible thing to say, and may sound a little dramatic. But think about it. How many of you have internet on your phone? How many of you search for somethin with voice commands to find out information? How many of you spend hours a day checking your social networking profiles? Now, try to imagine a world without searching, micr0-blogging, looking at videos, blogging, posting, and tweeting.. seems near impossible to me.

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2 thoughts on “SOPA: An Introduction and How It Will Affect Me

  1. Jonathan

    Honestly, at work if I don’t know something or have a problem I don’t know how to solve I’m encouraged by my boss to surf the net for a fast, plausible answer. I can’t really imagine how I would accomplish as much as I do in a day without Google or a free Internet to be honest with you.

    1. Great point, Jon. Sometimes I think that it is bad that our generation and everyone living in it are so attached to the internet, but then I remember that this phase, the Information Age, is merely a part of mass media history, as is the Yellow Journalism Era or the Muckraking Era. We live and breathe information, and the advent and accessibility of the internet has fueled our need for knowledge. What will we do if we can’t find quick answers? Our society also focuses on convenience as well as accessibility, and if you, for example, couldn’t conveniently look up something at work, how would you find the answer? There are so many unanswered questions to this dilemma, but I think that this SOPA law will bring the ever-important information age to a screeching halt, which is a very bad thing in my mind.

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