Most Internet users at this time should know of, or at least heard about, the Stop Online Piracy Act or SOPA (H.R.3261.IH). You don’t have to be a lawyer to understand what the act stands for. SOPA is the answer provided by the music and movie industry to curb online piracy, and it goes to extreme measures in order to accomplish that lofty goal. To put it into language the typical person can understand, SOPA will give intellectual property owners (said music and movie businesses) the power to effectively and permanently shut down a foreign website if it infringes on a copyright held by the owners.
Technically, under current SOPA guidelines, the website will be blacklisted by use of DNS blocking and the removal of the website from search engines. To the average Internet user in America, the website will basically vanish. For some, the potential loss of a website hosting torrent files of Ang Lee’s “Hulk” isn’t that big of a deal. But here’s where things got scary, causing a huge Internet uproar: SOPA will give copyright holders the power to shut down a website in the United States even if there is no strong evidence to show that the website infringed on a copyright.
Over the weekend, however, it looked as if the prayers of the Internet were answered when Representative Eric Cantor (R-VA) announced that he will stop all action on SOPA. And with the Obama Administration opposing the bill in its current form, the Internet was swamped with articles claiming the “death” of the SOPA bill. Well, unfortunately that isn’t exactly the case. The bill has been shelved, not killed, although it has been confirmed that the part of the bill which would allow DNS blocking has been delayed and put under study, and House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) has confirmed that SOPA hearings will continue in February.
Though we won’t hear from SOPA for another month, a different bill, the PROTECT-IP Act or PIPA, is now on the table. It is not the same as SOPA, but it has the same goal, and is equally as dangerous to online freedom.
Tomorrow, many websites such as Google, Wikipedia, Reddit, Boing Boing, icanhascheezburger, WordPress, and many more, will protest SOPA and PIPA, by either changing the home page to show support, or by “going dark.” GAMINGtruth.com plans on joining the other websites in protest.
From 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. EST (5 a.m. to 5 p.m. Pacific) the front page which usually stores GAMINGtruth hotness will be replaced by a page with links on how you can help prevent the bills from being written into law. We ask that you please have patience while waiting for the website to come online once again, and help support us by linking people to our homepage and spreading the word about the dangers of SOPA and PIPA.
You can start by going to AmericanCensorship.org and send a message to your Senator expressing your desire to have these bills halted. These bills will keep coming back unless we do something today.
Now, go forth and conquer!