If you have yet to hear of SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act) or H.R.3261, it can best be explained as a bill designed to protect copyrighted material, such as songs, pictures, and videos by effectively shutting down entire websites without notice if any copyrighted material appears. Sounds crazy? Well it is. The bill was created by Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX) and sponsored by 31 others.
Those in Congress who support this Act are as followed: Lamar Smith, Joe Baca, Howard Berman, Marsha Blackburn, Mary Bono Mack, John Carter, Steven Chabot, John Conyers, Jim Cooper, Elton Gallegly, Robert Goodlatte, Tim Holden, Peter King, John Larson, Adam Schiff, Brad Sherman, Lee Terry, Melvin Watt, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, John Barrow, Steve Scalise, Ben Luján, Judy Chu, William Owens, Karen Bass, Ted Deutch, Ben Quayle, Tim Griffin, Dennis Ross, Alan Nunnelee, Thomas Marino, and Mark Amodei.
To date an estimate of just under $2 million - $2.5 million has been donated from Entertainment Industries in support of SOPA. This money goes to the 32 sponsors of the bill as campaign contributions. Meanwhile $524,977 has been donated from those opposing the bill.
Some opponents of the bill include Google, Yahoo!, Facebook, Twitter, AOL, Wikimedia Foundation, Mozilla Corporation, Tumblr, eBay, LinkedIn, Brookings Institution, Reporters Without Borders, ACLU, Human Rights Watch, Electronic Frontier Foundation, Techdirt, Center for Democracy and Technology, New York Times, Los Angeles Times, and many more organizations, as well as many prominent people including presidential candidate Ron Paul (R-TX).
How has this bill gotten so far you may ask? Mainly because most of those in Congress who support the bill do not have a full grasp of how this will affect all internet users and countless websites, including popular websites like Facebook, Tumblr, Reddit, etc.. They’ve even gone as far as to admit they don’t know much about the internet with Rep. Melvin Watt (D-NC) saying he’s “not a nerd” and “couldn’t understand a lot of the technological stuff.”
So what we have here is a group of people deciding the fate of the internet who more than likely can barely turn on a computer by themselves. But what do they care? They’re being given money by the Entertainment Industry.
Passing this bill will destroy much of the internet, not only for American citizens but for the rest of the world who will also lose popular American hosted websites that will be forced to shutdown because of this bill.
James Allworth, a blogger with Harvard Business Review wrote that the bill would “give America its very own version of the Great Firewall of China.”
If SOPA passes it is enough evidence needed to prove that those in Congress can be bought out and willing to vote in the direction of the highest bidder. It also already shows their ignorance on subjects they haven’t taken the time to understand, meanwhile feeling as though they have the right and authority to vote on such subjects.
As of this moment it is 3am EST on December 20th, 2011. Originally a vote on this bill was scheduled for sometime in January 2012, but it was decided that the bill would be voted on tomorrow December 21st. Many are anxious to see the bill pass so they can enjoy their holiday break. This isn’t the first time Congress has rushed a bill right before the holiday season when most people are just concerned with spending time with their family. The Federal Reserve Act was passed on December 23rd, 1913.
There are various petitions online to stop SOPA and demonstrations planned if SOPA passes. Wikipedia’s founder Jimmy Wales may block out Wikipedia entirely for a day, which when polled 87% of users say they support. There are also many anti-censorship websites giving information about what you can do. One is Stop American Censorship.
Remember the names of those who are in favor of passing this bill, so in the future they may not be voted back into Congress.