Websites went dark on the internet. So many, that you might have been wondering if there was a widespread outage. But it was on purpose. Web sites around the globe took themselves offline for 24 hours to protest two U.S. bills being proposed on Capitol Hill. These bills are designed to stop piracy which sounds like a great idea. So, what are these websites upset about and why should you be concerned?
and PIPA might sound like cute characters from a cartoon but they are actually
the acronyms for the laws being proposed in DC. SOPA - STOP ONLINE PIRACY
ACT and PIPA Protect IP Act. These bills are so controversial that
Wikipedia, WordPress, Google and many others either took themselves offline or
changed their sites to show their protests of the bill. They say these
bills are too far reaching and would actually take the legitimate sites that
you know and love offline. Cyber expert, Theresa Payton, explains
what the fuss is all about.
ARE THESE BILLS MEANT TO DO?
Media companies, music companies, anyone who develops products want a
better way to fight piracy. Today, they sue individual users or work with
the U.S. government officials to try to shut down domains. This gets
almost impossible to do with the internet pirates are overseas.
SOPA which is the House Bill and PIPA which is the Senate bill are aimed
mainly at foreign web sites that have printed copyrighted or counterfeited
materials or goods illegally.
example of a site considered an online treasure for pirated information is “The
Pirate Bay” .
HAVE VOICED CONCERNS:
Shut down without a voice: there is no appeal process before the
site is shut down. So, if sites are shut down but it was “mistaken
identity” and actually a legitimate site, it could hurt the business owners
Technology experts are concerned that the language in the bill could
leave companies open to internet censorship as various sites, topics or
services become a target
Links you share on social networks and even emails might be monitored and
potentially removed if it is believed to be promoting piracy or copyright
Sites that let the communities drive content are concerned that if the
community posts something that is considered a violation that the entire site
will be pulled down
SHOULD BE DONE INSTEAD?
internet openness advocates say, do nothing. Use the laws we already have and
enforce them better. An alternative bill called Online Protection and
Enforcement of Digital Trade Act (OPEN) has also been propose that would send
any accusations of piracy to the US International Trad Commission first before
taking a site offline or other actions.
OF THE WEEK:
A mash up on pinboard and interests. It’s a really cool site where
you set up a profile of interests and you can pin up things that you love as
well. From wedding plans to travel tips to fitness and
architecture. It’s all there. Just be careful how much personal
information you share about yourself while you pin up your favorites!
Library of Congress has posted the text for the Bills at the following links:
alternative bill proposed is called OPEN> If you want to see a draft
of the bill and comment on it, go to:
you want to know if your elected official is sponsoring these bills, the
Co-Sponsors are listed at:
World is tracking the progress of the bills at: http://www.pcworld.com/article/248298/sopa_and_pipa_just_the_facts.html
a graphical illustration, check out Mashable’s infographic at: http://mashable.com/2011/11/16/sopa-infographic/
check out the word of the week, PINTEREST at http://pinterest.com/