Censoring The Internet: PIPA and SOPA- What Does This Mean?

By January 18, 2012Latest News

Today, all across the internet, people are voicing their concerns about two government bills Protect IP Act, (PIPA) and the Stop Online Piracy Act, (SOPA), which the Senate will begin voting over on January 24th.So, what does this mean, really? Is it a big deal?Many big internet companies tend to think so! If you’ve checked out Google today, it’s been blacked out or censored. At the bottom of the screen it says, “Tell Congress: Please Don’t Censor the Web!”If you click on the blackened-out logo, it brings up an online petition to sign. Google seems to have a lot of incentive to stop these bills from passing because many Google links lead to illegal pirated videos. Would they get punished because of this? Same goes for YouTube. Thousands of copyrighted links are loaded onto that website a day- would they be legally responsible for the content their users upload? Should they be?It sure looks that way. According to a New York Times article, “Stop the Great Firewall of America;”

The House version goes further, allowing private companies to sue service providers for even briefly and unknowingly hosting content that infringes on copyright — a sharp change from current law, which protects the service providers from civil liability if they remove the problematic content immediately upon notification.

Seems like a nightmare for just about every social media site and search engine I can think of.Like Google’s homepage, Wikipedia’s following suit. Only, it’s also been completely shut down for 24 hours: What do you think about this issue? Do you think these bills are infringing on our rights stated in the First Amendment or do you think they’d be protecting intellectual property?