SOPA: A Righteous Cause or a Piracy Crusade?
To better understand the act, one needs to first examine what “SOPA” is and means. First and foremost, SOPA is the Stop Online Piracy Act. This act is essentially an extension of another bill that was sent through shortly before it. The name of this bill is the PROTECT IP act, which stands for Protecting Online Threats to Economic Creativity and Theft of Intellectual Property. Both these names are essentially very fancy names for an anti-theft law to protect the intellectual property of movie, music and other industries alike. From this, the logical questions one would come to is; what does this bill do? What is beneficial about it? What is harmful about it? How would it effect me and my daily life? And finally is it constitutional or not? All these questions are very important to the greater understanding of this topic, and both sides of the argument hold very valid arguments.
Since it has already been explained what SOPA is, next one must look into what it does. In a brief synopsis, the Stop Online Piracy act would enable the attorney general to bring charges against and eventually shutdown all web sites, hosts, domain name owners, internet providers and internet users who are found to support, participate in or facilitate the theft of intellectual property of another. The act goes farther to say that all individuals once served with a court order will have only five days to appeal it in the courts. If the individual fails to appeal or remove the content in question they will be subjected to a hefty fine and/or jail time. It then goes one step farther. In addition to being able to force websites to remove content in question, it would force internet providers to restrict the access of foreign websites that are not in accordance with the act. This would essentially make the foreign websites practically nonexistent to all American internet users. As it is common with any topic as controversial as the censorship of the entire internet, it has drawn a lot of big names on both sides of the fence. On one side of the fence are have the people who are for the bill; this includes many big music and movie companies who say that they are losing billions due to the theft of their intellectual property through rogue sites such as “thepiratebay.org”. On the other side of the bill, there are many of the big internet companies of which are some of the greatest innovators of our time; amongst the companies taking up the opposition you have big names like Google, Facebook, and Twitter. All of these companies are taking up the stance that the new act is unconstitutional and would facilitate the government to be able to censor the flow of information, which is contrary to the First Amendment of the Constitution. Both sides of the debate have a very effective argument and only time will tell which side will win.
Now that we know what the act does we must then look into the pros of the issue. The most viable...