Unless you’ve had your head in the sand for the past couple of days, you’ve probably read or heard about SOPA and PIPA.
And while seeing those two words makes me hungry for a good chicken enchilada, they have nothing to do with Mexican cuisine.
SOPA is the Stop Online Piracy Act, a controversial bill with far reaching powers to control Internet content. Some say to control it much like the Chinese government which is, essentially, censorship.
While the legislative debate in Washington begins, a host of large Internet companies have begun to protest and urge users to voice their opinion to those elected to represent them.
The online protests include Wikipedia's webpages going completely black, while Google put a big black box over their prominent logo on its home page, with a link to a page from which users could sign a "Tell Congress: Don't censor the Web" petition. Traditional street protests are scheduled for cities including New York, San Francisco, and Seattle.
One of my favorite comedic sites, http://theoatmeal.com/ even got in on the act. (Mature content warning!)
PIPA, the Protect IP Act, is the Senate’s version of SOPA. IP is Internet talk for Internet Protocol, which is a series of numbers that guides internet traffic around the world.
You can read much more about both SOPA and PIPA at the CNET website: http://tinyurl.com/7y7k9xk
Like so many of our laws, there are far too many loopholes and a serious lack of checks and balances in the SOPA and PIPA bills pending in Congress.
Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C) sums up my feeling: “I support intellectual property rights but oppose SOPA and PIPA because they are misguided bills that will cause more harm than good.”
In my opinion, SOPA and PIPA are far overreaching and gives the government more authority beyond what is reasonable and should, therefore, both be tossed in the trash.