As of January 20 (EST), Senator Reid has officially pulled off the cloture vote that was supposed to be held on Janaury 24th.
“The SOPA mark-up was scheduled to resume on Feb. 18th, but it has now officially been postponed indefinitely.”-Open Congress
So as of now, let’s celebrate our freedom! 🙂 However, this is also a good time to better understand SOPA and PIPA. The battle is not completely over yet, and as they say “knowing is half the battle”.
What is SOPA?
I know this acronym may sound like a Filipino saying the word “sofa”, but SOPA actually stands for Stop Online Piracy Act. Although this bill has only gone viral these past few days, this bill was actually initiated by Rep. Lamar Smith since October of last year. This bill hopes to put an end to online piracy, which includes infringement of copyrighted materials (books, movies, etc.), and counterfeit goods (imitation of original brands like Louis Vitton bags). Of course, we all know that piracy is illegal, and there are existing laws against these things. The jurisdiction and punishment of SOPA, however, is lot more complicated and a little extreme.
“Proposals include barring advertising networks and payment facilities from conducting business with allegedly infringing websites, barring search engines from linking to the sites, and requiring Internet service providers (ISP) to block access to the sites. The bill would criminalize the streaming of such content, with a maximum penalty of five years in prison.” –Wikipedia
For example, Google can no longer link and/or provide search results of alleged “infringing websites” aka rouge sites. Internet Service Providers (ISP) can also blocked these sites. Google, who originally supported this bill, is now against it, and has even joined the black out campaign along with Wikipedia last January 18. Google writes:
“SOPA and PIPA would be job-killers because they would create a new era of uncertainty for American business.” –Google
This means that every site including content-sharing sites would have to meticulously monitor content that users upload or link to. If they don’t, they can face the dangers of undergoing expensive litigations.
Google’s slogan for this campaign “End Piracy, Not Liberty”, pretty much says it all about SOPA.
What is PIPA or Protect Intellectual Property Act.?
Basically, this bill gives the US government and private corporations the right to sue any website (including foreign sites) which they believe is in violation of any copyright. This seems reasonable, right? But wait! There’s more! Let’s take a look at what this means for us internet users.
- You can say anything you want online without worrying to get banned or sued (depending on what website you’re posting the comments on).
- You can upload any cover song. If a record label claims the copyright, YouTube will just take down the video.
- You can freely stream videos.
- You can always count on Google and other search engines to display accurate search results.
If PIPA is implemented, it would be like this:
If you upload your own cover of Michael Jackson’s Beat It in YouTube, the record label can sue you and YouTube and can get serious penalty.
Why should Filipinos be against it?
As of 2011, there are already over 27 million Facebook users in the Philippines. We are a small country, but we are big in the internet. We rely on Facebook and YouTube to showcase the talents of our kababayan. Remember how Charice got catapulted to international stardom and became one of the nation’s pride? It was because Ellen Degeneres found her video on YouTube!
Now, if SOPA/PIPA gets approved, the rules of the game will completely change. YouTube will have to monitor every freaking comment, video uploads, and all of the content in their site or risked of getting shut down. We, as internet users will be paranoid and hesitant to upload videos and express our opinions knowing that SOPA/PIPA can screw us any time.
We Filipinos love uncensored entertainment and freedom. We want our opinions heard and our talents seen. So that’s why we should be against SOPA and PIPA.
OK. I get it. I don’t want these bills to be approved. Now, what?
There are many ways that you can show the world that you are against these two bills.
First off, you can start by sharing SOPA/PIPA related posts (like this one) so that people can understand what they are.
Google has also started a petition, but you can only enter US zip codes. You can find it here:
Here are different sources that can help you better understand SOPA and PIPA:
As I was learning more about SOPA and PIPA, I came across these clever comments:
- Sopaking_ stupid! –lazyboy616 , YouTube
- Internet censorship is_ SOPAthetic.- AsianKatana, YouTube
- Thumbs of for SUCA! Shut_ Up Congress Act!!!! –Thetamcim, YouTube
- Personally I think… (Comment Removed by SOPA) –Dementon, IGN.com
- SOPA backwards. -A Piece Of_ Shit sublimefreak2244, YouTube
This is the time to speak up. Did you support black outs and sign petitions? Please share your thoughts about SOPA and PIPA below. 🙂
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