I wish this were merely a Seinfeld reference to the Soup-Nazi, but sadly, its about something much more sinister and disturbing.
SOPA Stands for the (Stop Online Piracy Act). This, along with another act called PIPA, are new laws that were recently passed by our government in support of the entertainment industry in their never ending attempts at blocking piracy.
Blocking piracy you say? Maybe you don’t download pirated material and think that people shouldn’t do it, so this must be a good thing, right? Wrong!
SOPA and PIPA are nothing more than censorship tools. Censorship is nothing new. For years, parent groups have been banning books in schools, movies have been edited to remove offensive material, and sometimes even extreme activists have been told to shut the hell up for the greater good of the people. In every case, an argument could be made that there is a genuinely positive justification that protects our children from seeing or hearing things they shouldn’t hear, or in some way protects us from terrorism or something wicked.
Not with SOPA/PIPA. The sole purpose of this censorship is to protect the wallets of the fat cats in Hollywood and at the record labels. You see, the entertainment industry is huge, and they have huge bank accounts, and they don’t want anything taking away from their constant stream of money that has been rolling in for years.
Even if you have never illegally downloaded something without paying for it, SOPA can affect you.
The biggest problem with any kind of censorship is that it leaves the decisions of what should and shouldn’t be censored to the OPINIONS of a small group of people whose sole interest is in making money. Where’s the nobility in that? This isn’t going to protect us from extremist Muslims who want to crash planes into our buildings, or protect our children from rapists and other predators? Its just a means to keep the fat cats happy.
This is no different than the other countless attempts at stopping free speech. You know, the thing that is protected in the 1st Amendment of the Constitution? Whether or not you think that piracy should be stopped, you should care that there is going to be someone or some company that is in the entertainment industry that has gained government support to try to stop the flow of information to you.
So far, I dont think SOPA or PIPA have stopped anything, but if this type of thing continues, where does it stop? Maybe today, they’re only going after major pirates. But what if tomorrow, they went after websites that are directly linked to major pirates, or the people who simply talk about piracy, or what if the next day, its not just pirates, its websites where people talk about ways to get public domain movies and music? Its not a huge stretch of the imagination that one day, this could lead to problems for legitimate online streaming sites like Netflix or Hulu.
If you want to read more about SOPA or PIPA, you can click HERE and HERE. For now, I encourage you to stay knowledgeable about these topics, and if you vote, make sure you express your disapproval for people who support these initiatives.