How SOPA and PIPA Would Affect You


Websites like ‘Pirate Bay’, and ‘Solarmovie’ are both sites that host copyrighted material, but, they are based in foreign countries. This is why there is nothing the United States Government can do about them, unless SOPA and PIPA are passed.

The Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), in the House, and the Protect IP [intellectual property] Act (PIPA), in the Senate, are  both designed to give the government, specifically the District Attorney, the power to take down foreign web sites that host copyrighted material such as pirated movies, music, and more.

If SOPA and PIPA were to pass, the United States would be given the power to present a court order to internet providers such as Time Warner or companies such as Google, forcing them to block their customers from going to these sites, or in Google’s case, not showing certain search results to their users.

I see no problem in this, however, the bill is written so loosely that there is a corrupt side to SOPA and PIPA; the ability to infringe on our rights as Americans.

Currently, websites are not responsible for what their users post. For example, If I were to post a video of a Viking Basketball Game, which had music in the background of Rihanna singing, and I didn’t acquire the rights to her song, my video could be taken down due to copyright laws. But if SOPA and PIPA were in effect, that would make the company, in this case, YouTube, responsible for my video, and in turn, the government could virtually block American users from all access to YouTube.

While it would be highly unlikely for sites like Facebook, and YouTube to be taken down, there could be even worse consequences: SOPA and PIPA could kill future innovation. For example, people known as Angel Investors and Venture Capitalists, invest in companies on the web that are starting up. In a recent survey done by Booz & Co, it was shown that these investors would be 70% less likely to invest in a company that involved user uploaded content (this includes YouTube, Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, etc.). This would be extremely damaging to our economy.

Many large companies have rallied against SOPA and PIPA and some, such as Wikipedia, even ‘blacked-out’ on January 18 to show what it would be like without uncensored knowledge. Wikipedia redirected users to a screen with a message about SOPA and PIPA as well as information on how you can get involved. Wikipedia reported that over 8 million of their users made an effort to contact their senator or representative and tell them their concerns with SOPA and PIPA. Google, also reported collecting over 7 million signatures in a petition against the bills.

With recent attention drawn to these bills, 13 senators have withdrawn their support; 8 in the Senate and 5 in the House. The Senate is scheduled to have a procedural vote on PIPA on January 24.