Stop Online Piracy Act gives power to the government and the entertainment industry to censor anything that would be seen as copyrighted material.
On October 26, 2011, by US Representative Lamar S. Smith, a bill was introduced that would change the internet. The Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) deals with the expansion of law enforcement to fight online trafficking in copyrighted intellectual property and counterfeit goods.
SOPA has the potential to create government funded sectors to place censorship on anything that would be seen as “wrong”. Anything that has a connection to copyrighted material or counterfeit goods would be censored or shut down.
This will give the US government the permission to give censorship to the entertainment industry. Any material on any website that the entertainment industry sees as infringement of copy right would be shut down with the owner/creator of that website, being put in jail for five years.
With a lot of material being copyrighted, that is from international countries, the US has proposed SOPA. There was the need to take care of ‘pirates’, since little can be done at an international level, action will be needed at home.
This is done by tracking pirated websites or popular websites such as YouTube with many user submitted videos with copyrighted music and game content. By having mandatory rules which shutdown or place heavy restrictions, to censor the internet and track websites. This has said to “infringe on free speech and freedom” as it doesn’t have specific details and what could be considered as “wrong” can have many interpretations. It has also been said, “how far will they go, if this bill gets passed?”.
By censoring the internet, the US government would sue any individual that relates to an infringing website, merely by mentioning, linking or posting about one. The Government also has the ability to “cripple new start-up [sites]… they [US government] feel isn’t doing their censorship well enough”, this discourages internet users and also puts a strain on new bloggers and web-site owners.
I had talked to a YouTuber that was familiar with S.O.P.A and the potential mess it will create. She is a performer on YouTube who uses other peoples music and sings along with them. She said “If S.O.P.A gets passed I will have to start all over again, instead of being able to entertain my viewers weekly I will have to do it only a few times a year with high restrictions – everything would have to be my original content”.
What SOPA means for Australia:
Overview of SOPA on Youtube:
Famour Youtuber talking about SOPA: