SOPA, PIPA face the public gallows

Lucas Hamilton/Entertainment Editor

The Internet, full of free and easily accessible knowledge, is at risk of being censored. The Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) is a piece of legislation that puts many websites at risk of being shut down if found to be enabling illegal activity such as downloading music and file sharing. But this potential law does so in a way that puts the actual integrity of the Internet and its unending information at risk of being censored. This completely ignores the people’s right to expression.

The jump-starting for this bill came from media companies who urged the Senate and House to protect their work from the Internet where TV shows and movies can be streamed, and music can be even easier to obtain. The legislators listened and drafted SOPA in the House and Protect Intellectual Property Act (PIPA) in the Senate. Both had the best of intentions when writing the bills, but as large corporations started looking into the details of the bill, the freedom that the Internet provided was being pushed aside in order for major media companies to have their work protected from piracy.

Less than a week ago, the major file sharing site Megaupload suffered a fatal blow in which its owners were arrested and the website shutdown. Activists against bills like SOPA and PIPA called this the single largest Internet attack in history.

The Internet isn’t intended for being used as a tool for piracy. The bill was designed with the right intentions, but Congress took it too far. If the bill were to pass as it stands now, websites that allow illegal activity would be shutdown, and people who were to be found engaging in illegal activity via Internet sites would be kicked off and never allowed to return.

So that means if someone were to be suspected of breaking copyright infringement on a site like Facebook or Twitter, they would be swiftly escorted off the site and never allowed to return. The new generation, so accustomed to technology, would be required to relearn everything about Internet conduct in order to simply exist on some sites.

Class of 2014

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