December 19, 2011

SOPA might change the Internet as we know it today

SOPA is a proposed law (a "bill") currently discussed in the US. SOPA is short for Stop Online Piracy Act and it's an attempt by the US government to stop copyrighted material from spreading around the Internet. The idea behind the proposed law is to expand the ability of the US law enforcement and copyright holders to fight online piracy and counterfeit goods. Big companies like Google, Yahoo, Facebook, and Twitter, are doing their best to prevent SOPA from happening. But why is SOPA scary?
One problem is that the people who are deciding whether SOPA is happening or not, don't have the experience needed. The Internet is a complicated place and people with little computer experience should not decide how to regulate the Internet. Shouldn't companies like Google know what's best for the future of the Internet?
But the biggest problem is that SOPA requires service providers to block access to entire sites if a user on the site is accused of copyright infringement. The consequences might be that if a user of Twitter is linking to a website with copyrighted material  - the entire Twitter.com may shut down. Google can't detect copyright infringement and currently relies on copyright holders to bring offending material to its attention. May Google shut down if SOPA is happening?
A vote is presently scheduled for Wednesday, December 21 2011.


Edit: The debate continues when the Congress returns after the winter holiday.

Source: The Washington Post, Wikipedia

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