Could Congress Block Your Baby Videos from the Internet?Katherine Stone
Censorship in America? It’s possible, with the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA). Soon you may need to be very careful about what you post to your blogs or Facebook, because it might mean fines and jail time.
Today, massive internet companies like Google, Facebook and Twitter are going head to head on Capitol Hill with the likes of the Motion Picture Association of America and the recording industry over the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA). Proponents say the bill would protect intellectual property against misuse and counterfeiting, like music and movie piracy. A US News opinion piece explains, “… [the] legislation would extend the authority of officials to require Internet providers and search engines to essentially erase websites suspected of copyright infringement from the World Wide Web.”
But the technology companies argue that SOPA, and a similar bill in the Senate called Protect-IP, could potentially take down and even bankrupt services like Twitter, Tumblr or Facebook if even one user posts something that infringes on another’s copyright while having very little impact in piracy, most of which is committed by users outside of the US. And it’s not just the big players who could be impacted, but also the moms and dads uploading baby videos — as has already happened in one case.
Creative Commons and Mozilla even declared today American Censorship Day, stating that everyday bloggers and regular internet users would be hurt by this bill, explaining, “…It becomes a felony with a potential 5-year sentence to stream a copyrighted work that would cost more than $2,500 to license, even if you are a totally noncommercial user, e.g. singing a pop song on Facebook.”
See their video below:
What do you think? Is it more important to protect artists and other intellectual property creators from piracy, or keep the internet free from such monitoring?