Sopa & Pipa Research Paper

Topics: Copyright infringement, World Wide Web, First Amendment to the United States Constitution Pages: 5 (1658 words) Published: May 14, 2012
How would you feel if the entirety of the Internet was censored down to where everything that's to be created, uploaded, or even posted had to pass through the U.S. Government's screening? Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) is the bill that is currently pending on whether to be passed through the House of Representatives in the United States. The Senate version of this is the Protect-IP Act (PIPA). These two bills, which are currently shelved, should not be passed due to the restriction of freedoms upon people, the harming of small businesses, and SOPA gives corporations unprecedented power to silence online speech.

The restriction of freedom that would be put on people with these bills present would only add to the previous constraints. If these bills ever become active they give the legal liability to all site owners even if it's not them that the legislation is targeted for (Ibraham, Sec. 103). This presents another issue within itself; site owners of large websites, including Google, Yahoo, Wikipedia, etc., etc. all would have to monitor whatever the millions of people who visit their sites daily upload or post on to it (Erickson). This would not only cause large delays and non-user-friendly web pages for the sites many know and love but would also put strain on the site owner which now has to go through all of that information. Another way that passing SOPA / PIPA would put constraints on people's freedoms is that it limits people's creativity by not allowing things that are quite common currently. “Remixes” or any other type of information, whether via video or audio would be considered a copyright violation. The threat alone stifles innovative thoughts but with the addition of entire web pages being shut down because a few users, if not only a single user posted something copyright just adds insult to injury (Hiltzik, Michael).

Another factor that largely contributes to the major reasons behind disliking SOPA and PIPA is that they hurt small businesses and when that happens, it pushes the views of the large corporations that are basically controlling everything that is done in every-day life (Rackley). When large corporations slowly start to take away rights of small businesses, that's when the problems show themselves. The small businesses can no longer get by without having to fall in to the large corporations' wants. An example of this can take place nearly anywhere, but is specifically emphasized on the Internet, where one can say, make videos for personal enjoyment and / or their want to help others, for free of cost besides their time and effort. If this person is unable to be seen, yet has quality material, then this just goes to show with the pushes of these bills, it only furthers the chance of someone succeeding.

Freedom of Speech is one of the many specific things that the opposition of SOPA and PIPA have gone against. If there's censorship on everything you say on the Internet, which is being controlled by the government, then the fact that these bills are supposedly constitutional is clearly mistaken. The Freedom of Speech censorship goes hand-in-hand with the ability of judges to order a website to be shut down because a single user posted something that could be taken as copyright (Hiltzik, Michael). With both of these active, there are only bare minimum freedoms that would still exist when you are on the web. Entire domains could go down just because a single user violated the law. This just pushes the idea of guilty until proven innocent. Until one can prove the entire site was not in on the copyright, it would be shut down (Walsh, Jason).

Although the two bills limit a couple of freedoms, they keep a person's work their own and solely their own. If these two laws were to be passed, then one would not have to take all the extra precautions when trying to keep your work the solely your own, Freedom of speech is not related to the issue at hand, just because there's a limitation doesn't mean that...
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