SOPA: What You Should Know


By Shea Garner

Entertainment on the Internet can be used and manipulated in a variety of ways. Websites like SideReel or tvDuck can help you watch your favorite HBO program only hours after it has finished airing. File sharing websites like MediaFire can give you access to a new or favorite album, instantly.

And while these services might not necessarily be legal, the Internet finds a way around the issue and uploads them for world wide pleasure. But many great things aren’t forever, and Congress is trying to shut down most of the free entertainment on the Internet with the passing of the SOPA/Protect IP Act.

What is this act?

SOPA could shut down most of the sites that host the videos and music that you want access to. Many of these host sites are from outside the United States, so SOPA would block access to the infringing domain names. Congress would do this by suing any of the said sites, and cutting off any funds the sites garner from advertising.

Why is this so bad?

Hasn’t the government tried to do this before, shutting down file-sharing sites like Napster and LimeWire? SOPA could also shut down start-up sites that they don’t think are filtering well enough. YouTube cover songs would be virtually non-existent and sites that make most of their income from advertising, even Google, would have to shut down.

You can stop the SOPA/Protect IP Act from passing by calling your state congressman and expressing your concern. Tumblr had even set up a “call program” that explains the dangers of SOPA and connects you to your congressman. Many of the congressmen supporting the Protect IP Act have YouTube videos on their sites with song or video content that could be targeted with the very act they’re trying to pass.

If SOPA passes, uploading a Michael Jackson video to YouTube could get you five years in prison. That’s one more year in prison than the doctor who killed him.

What are your thoughts on the Protect IP Act? Have you called your congressman? Let us know in the comments section below.