The Stop Online Privacy Act: SOPA Debate

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Taj Jackson  
Ms. Palombo
English Honors 10B
23 March 2012
Stop Online Privacy Act
The Stop Online Privacy Act, generally known as SOPA is a United States bill that was introduced into the House of Representatives on October 26th, 2011 and broadly protested on January 18th, 2012. A few things SOPA is capable of according to Joshua Topolsky is, “…search engines or payment services to shut down access to a website that the owner believes violated its copyright. On its face, the bill is designed to stop access to foreign websites that are profiting off of stolen content” (1). To protest this bill, on January 18th, “…backers of several popular web sites were visibly dramatizing the "censorship" they say SOPA and PIPA would cause. On Wikipedia, users see a brief flash of the entry they were seeking – then a black screen descends, obscuring the site. Social site Reddit is closed, too, offering instead a breakdown of arguments in opposition to the bills. Mozilla, too, is redirecting its web pages to an "action page" and Google's search homepage is blacking out the Google logo” (Clayton 1). Although not the only form of protest for the greatly opposed bill it was the most recognized. From writing to Congress to signing an online petition, supporters and those opposed expressed their concerns and made their voices heard.

If SOPA were to be passed, essentially, “The legislation would allow copyright holders and the Justice Department to seek court orders against websites associated with copyright infringement. SOPA, the House version, applies to both domestic and foreign websites … If that court order is granted, the entire website would be taken down. Internet users who typed in the site's URL address would receive an error message, and for all appearances, the site would never have existed. Importantly, the court does not need to hear a defense from the actual website before issuing its ruling. The entire website can be condemned without a trial or even a...
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