Imagine your world now without immediate access to the millions of data and resources that you currently have access to- Google, Wikipedia, Craigslist and even WordPress. Today, those sites are giving you a small taste of what that would be like.
Sites such as Google, Wikipedia and WordPress are going through a blackout for a 24 hour period to protest SOPA and PIPA and raise awareness so that together we can make a difference. So, what are SOPA and PIPA? SOPA is short for the “Stop Online Piracy Act,” and PIPA is an acronym for the “Protect IP Act.” (“IP” stands for “intellectual property.”) These two bills before Congress, would censor the Web and impose harmful regulations on American business. Millions of Internet users and entrepreneurs already oppose SOPA and PIPA. Detailed information about these bills can be found in the Stop Online Piracy Act and PROTECT IP Act articles on Wikipedia, which are available during the blackout.
Why the blackout? What does that help with?
Many people (and companies) are concerned that SOPA and PIPA will severely inhibit people’s access to online information. This is not a problem that will solely affect people in the United States: it will affect everyone around the world. People feel this way because SOPA and PIPA are badly drafted legislation that won’t be effective at their stated goal (to stop copyright infringement), and will cause serious damage to the free and open Internet. They put the burden on website owners to police user-contributed material and call for the unnecessary blocking of entire sites. Small sites won’t have sufficient resources to defend themselves. Big media companies may seek to cut off funding sources for their foreign competitors, even if copyright isn’t being infringed. Foreign sites will be blacklisted, which means they won’t show up in major search engines. And, SOPA and PIPA build a framework for future restrictions and suppression. Creating this 24 hour blackout on sites is raising awareness and showing people how they can take action to stop this from happening. Together we can all make a difference.
What can I do to help?
The Senate will begin voting on January 24th. Please let them know how you feel. The most effective action you can take is to call your representatives and tell them you oppose SOPA and PIPA, and any similar legislation. Type your zipcode in the locator box to find your representatives’ contact information. Or you can sign this petition urging Congress to vote NO on PIPA and SOPA before it is too late.