Internet Blackout : The Buzz about SOPA and PIPA

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This might be the remaining "lawyer genes" left in me talking but I would have to warn you peeps, its going to be a rather wordy post about legislations. Gracias!

[Campaign against the SOPA Act]

Not sure how many of you out there knows what is going on (particularly readers from Malaysia) but at the moment, the entire internet realm is pretty much buzzing about what they deem to be the possible end of freedom on the internet. 

In a bid to end piracy over the internet, the US Senate came about to pass a legislation called the Stop Online Piracy Act (H.R. 3261) and the Protect IP Act (Senate Bill 968), both known colloquially as SOPA and PIPA respectively. How this legislation works is that it gives power to the US Department of Justice to take legal action against websites that may have been suspected to pass information or pirated materials within their websites and by court order, would be legally obliged to remove the material. Based on that power, this would mean that the act would be able to stop not only the transfer of information that are deemed "pirated" but also any other method of passing through this information including streaming, linking, and even to the point of search engine link.

As much as the intention of this bill to be passed is good, the downside of this situation is that this would give ultimate control to media watch authorities to pretty much control majority of the content within the net and pretty much giving them the power to shut down "any website that are deemed to have pirated content, within their fair judgement".

In response to this, yesterday we have seen several website giants decided to "shut down" their websites (wikipedia, google, reddit, The Oatmeal just to name a few) as part of their protest against this legislation and to show as to how far can this legislation damage the modern day usage of the internet as we know it.

However, would it make a difference?

From the latest news that I heard, several key congressmen within the Senate has already backed out of their support for the bill HOWEVER the review of both legislation are to continue regardless of the protest that has been made against the bill and from the way thinks are looking, the legislation might be passed regardless.

Personally I feel that with the intention of the senate is good, the enactment of these legislation would actually hinder the use rather than solving the piracy problem on a very simple ground : it is an outdated method of solving the problem.

Time and time again I have made myself very vocal about "cut and paste" websites around town that is becoming very common around us, particularly within the blogosphere locally in Malaysia. But to have a "totalitarian" control method to ensure that illegal material would only stop people from actually using the internet properly.

Consider this scenario, "where because of the mass usage of information transferred within Google that is then reported to the authority and in the end, Google would be legally obliged to remove the content, PayPal would then be forced to stop doing business with the website and even removing the website's ISP from even existing within the web."
-derived from Gizmodo-

What this would create is a situation where we would open a "floogate" of other uncertain issues and level of control to be passed without prejudice to most websites around town. No more streaming videos, no more searching for images or web pages, no more indexing on information on the web. And all of this is because of an outdated answer to a modern day problem.

Perhaps some may argue that a senate bill passed in the US would not have that great of an impact within the global usage of the internet. However bear in mind that because majority of these sites are hosted in the US, their operations then fall under the jurisdiction of the US Senate, which evidently if both of these bills are passed, would fall under their jurisdiction as well.

So I know that there are those that have mixed (or even no) opinions on the subject but to the perspective of this amateur blogger, passing this bill will not have the impact that the senate hope to have but rather create a far greater problem for the general public as to how the use of the internet is going to be like in the future. The net is a place where information transfers freely and should there be a regulation to ensure that all information are passed legally, there has got to be a better way than something as totalitarian as this acts.

Henceforth why I am joining the cause.
Teh Tarik Drinker is against the passing of SOPA and PIPA. 

Thanks for reading peeps! :D

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