Time to get our heads out of the sand and pay attention to something that’s actually happening in government for a change. SOPA, the Stop Online Piracy Bill is currently up for debate in the House, and if such a bill is signed into law, it could be the end of the internet as we know it. It sounds like hyperbole, but trust me, it’s not.
The idea behind the bill is that because Torrent sites like The Pirate Bay operate in foreign countries, free of the US’s copyright laws, that the government should be able to censor them from public view should they deem them “infringing.”
While that’s enough of a first amendment violation, the fine print of SOPA is what has me actually scared for my livelihood. The rule is that you can be subject to the same sort of punishment even if you’re caught linking to copyrighted content. Meaning, if Unreality posts a YouTube video containing copyrighted content, we are technically infringers. Post a photo or a movie poster without explicit permission? You could land yourself on a blacklist.
But past Unreality, this would disrupt the very fabric of the internet, as EVERY major site would fall under this new law. Google, Yahoo, Bing, Blogger, Tumblr, Reddit and almost any blog you can think of actively links to copyrighted content and could be subject to the penalties of this law.
I’ve written a longer piece about the implications of SOPA which you can read here, but it’s scary how little the average person actually knows about this law, or even that it exists in the first place. Educate yourself, and non US citizens, try not to laugh at us too much.