The Internet United Against Censorship

By Hashim Arain


The recent events concerning two very controversial pieces of legislation named SOPA (the Stop Online Piracy Act) and PIPA (the Protect IP Act) has made the tech world put up a major red flag. Both of these pieces of legislation are very similar to one another: both were made to battle piracy and to make sure internet users do not infringe on copyrighted material. Some say that these bills are good for protecting users from downloading pirated material, but according to many people, these bills have many flaws that infringe on our rights as citizens in terms of our freedom of expression and freedom of speech.

According to the Huffington Post, SOPA and PIPA are designed so that if anyone who expresses any copyrighted material, such as a Deadmau5 song in a Youtube video, could be sentenced to five years in prison.

SOPA and PIPA have received a backlash of opposition from the internet, including popular sites like Facebook, Google, Wikipedia, and Reddit. Think about it, if SOPA and PIPA pass and become law, all of our favorites sites will no longer exist, which is why sites like Wikipedia, Google, Reddit and others participated in a major day of protest a couple weeks ago. The thought process behind that day was to show everyone what it will be like if these flawed bills were to pass. Wikipedia and Reddit went “dark” and directed users to call their constituents in Congress to voice their opposition to these bills. Google, on the other hand, censored its logo with a big black bar to raise awareness of the bills. It is truly amazing how these major sites can raise so much awareness and get so many people involved.

In fact, it turns out that this protest may have actually worked.  According to CNN, some lawmakers changed their position on the two bills, even those who were strong supporters at one time. This just goes to that even though Washington is deeply divided, it can still listen to the people if they voice their opinion strongly.

The great thing about this whole movement is that people that support both parties came together against these two bills and voiced their strong opposition to them.  That might be one of the few times that both party supporters actually agree on something. It really is a shame that this type of protest movement probably will not happen if it is concerning other pressing issues that are facing our country today. The power of the people united is truly unchallenged.