We talked on many different topics in class last Wednesday and this is simply my reflection on that.
One of the major topics that we spoke on was the status and content of the SOPA/PIPA bill. The main agenda of the bills will cause major websites like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube to be forced to patrol user content to ensure it doesn’t contain links to pirated content. New Internet start-ups will be more reluctant to locate in the US when they can choose countries with less restriction. Could potentially push jobs overseas when US Internet companies relocate to avoid strict regulation. The three cons above are important, but the main protest point is that SOPA and PIPA represent the government extending its reach into our lives at a previously unseen level. Basically, it starts the US on a slippery slop of censorship with the question being: if they can control our Internet, what can’t they do?
Tuesday’s scheduled vote on the PIPA anti-piracy bill has been postponed by Senate majority leader Harry Reid, handing a defeat to Hollywood and a major victory to Internet companies that launched online protests to battle the legislation. "In light of recent events, I have decided to postpone Tuesday’s vote on the Protect IP Act," Reid said Friday. He is now asking sides to work together to resolve legitimate issues raised about the bill to crack down on foreign websites that traffic in movies, music and other Internet goods.
"Counterfeiting and piracy cost the American economy billions of dollars and thousands of jobs each year, with the movie industry alone supporting over 2.2 million jobs. We must take action to stop these illegal practices," Reid said. "We made good progress through the discussions we've held in recent days, and I am optimistic that we can reach a compromise in the coming weeks."
Wikipedia led a 12-to-24-hour blackout by more than 10,000 websites last Wednesday in protest of the PIPA. The sites directed people to contact their members of Congress, flooding Capitol Hill with calls and emails.
The bills are strongly backed by the entertainment industry and had been on a fast track to approval, with the Senate set to hold a key procedural vote on Tuesday. But the protests led several key people along with numerous other lawmakers vowing to oppose the legislation in its current form out of concern that it could squelch free speech on the Internet and lead to the shutdown of legitimate sites.
This is a video that I found very interesting on the subject and think all should watch it. See everyone in class!