Meet the web’s newest enemies


Recently, I’ve had little patience for ridiculous politics and big-money capitalist companies. It’s one thing that recent GOP potential candidates make me ashamed of our country, never mind our government, but all the hype regarding anything political is driving me crazy.  

The GOP debates continue to lead nowhere; the American population is fostering, or at least once fostered, candidates like the joke-of-a-politician Rick Perry and the sleazy pervert Newt Gingrich.

And now we’re introduced to Congress’ misbegotten twins, SOPA and PIPA. The Stop Online Piracy Act, SOPA, as well as its sister bill, the Protect Intellectual Property Act, PIPA, have racked up a considerable amount of infamy over the past few weeks. 

I’m sure everyone was aware on Jan. 18 of the high profile websites like Wikipedia, Google and Reddit that blacked out their content in protest against these two bills. 

Since U.S. legislation hopes to shut down sites sharing pirated content, these high profile websites know their fate is in the government’s hands. These Internet companies are concerned that if both these acts are passed, they will target legitimate sites such as their own. 

You may be wondering what is so harmful in attempting to rid the Internet of piracy and infringement, but upon further examination it is more than the amount of human rights these bills are violating – it’s the disturbing lengths studios and record labels are going to in order to accomplish their goals. 

SOPA and PIPA emerged from the lobbying of rich and powerful studios and labels such as the Motion Picture Association, MPPA and the Recording Industry Association of America, RIAA. Lobbying is questionable, however — I associate it with complaining and whining combined with under-the-table money deals.

Much to the humiliation of Hollywood, MPPA, the Entertainment Software Association and many other supporters, the bills, SOPA and PIPA, have been delayed for now, but unfortunately not forever. 

The White House is revisiting SOPA next month, however. PIPA was set to appear before legislation on Jan. 24, but Sen. Harry Reid announced through his Twitter that, “In light of recent events, I have decided to postpone Tuesday’s vote on the Protect IP Act #PIPA.”  It seems the Senate took notice of the protestors’ message that Americans will not tolerate any form of media control in this country. 

In essence, these bills are not just about piracy and copyright infringements — they have the ability to control what a person can look at, read, watch and listen to online. This is the greatest form of censorship; I guess America’s not past all that yellow journalism and propaganda.

Congress is a fool to think the implications of these bills could be obscured from the public, let alone believe the bill could be willingly passed.

What is this: a dystopian America under a totalitarian government? I think not. 

The Obama administration issued a statement this past month in response to an online petition titled, “Veto the SOPA bill and other future bills that threaten to diminish the free flow of information.” 

In the official White House response, the administration states, “while we believe that online piracy by foreign websites is a serious problem that requires a serious legislative response, we will not support legislation that reduces freedom of expression, increases cyber security risk, or undermines the dynamic, innovative global Internet.”

Now that the White House says that SOPA has gone too far, the petitions have gotten even more public support. The response even prompted MPAA to quickly retaliate in defense.

It is absolutely unacceptable for the government to manipulate the Internet by blocking or redirecting hit results. If passed, these two bills could result in the end of millions of useful and economy boosting websites as well as a violation of our First Amendment rights.