Most important, the Internet population is aware of Internet bills that introduce vast potential for censorship and abuse on the Internet.
The Internet is one of the United States most robust industries. It allows communications among billions and has been the backbone of protests around the world. But an Internet bill proposed that we give the power to censor the Internet to the entertainment industry. A strong group on the net fights to defend Internet privacy, free speech and privacy .
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Here’s how Protect IP and SOPA Work:
Private corporations want the ability to shut down sites where people download movies, TV shows and music. Since most of these sites are outside U.S. jurisdiction, Protect IP uses a couple of different tactics within American borders.
1. It gives the government the power to make U.S. Internet providers block access to infringing domain names. They can also sue a U.S. based search engine, directories, even blogs and forums to have links to these sites removed.
2. Protect IP gives corporations and the government the ability to cut off funds to infringing web sites by having U.S. based advertisers and payment processors cancel those accounts.
For starters, it will not stop downloaders — you can still access a blocked web site by entering the IP address, rather than the domain name. Help us fight for your digital rights and take action .
Internet Bills and Start Ups
Protect IP will cripple new start ups because it also lets companies sue any site that they feel is not doing their filtering well enough.
These lawsuits could easily bankrupt new search engines and social media sites. And Protect IP’s wording is ambiguous enough that important social media sites could become targets. Many sites where people express themselves or organize protests, broadcast news, or make art could look like piracy havens to the wrong judge.
Perhaps most dangerously, Protect IP will meddle with the inter workings of the Internet.
Consequently, by fiddling with the net’s registry of domain names, Protect IP will not protect piracy, while making the Internet less secure and less stable. It will introduce vast potential for censorship and abuse.
The Internet is a vital and vibrant medium and the government is tampering with its basic structure.
Corporations already have tools to fight piracy, such as the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.
Abuse of Power in Washington?
There is a history of abusing power in Washington, so the question is how far will they take all of this. The answer is “as far as we will let them.”
Protect IP is setup for quick passage. Sites like Google Plus, YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook would need to censor every single user since they will be held responsible for any content that users post.
Additionally, the punishment can be as high as 5 years in jail. This could be punishment for infringing on any copyrighted work. For example, even just singing a pop song could trigger a penalty.
What is it about Washington DC that drives otherwise seemingly-rational people to favor such boneheaded proposals? Maybe it is the drinking water there. Or the money?
Become an Internet Activist
It is said that the Internet and the next generation of activism are intertwined. For example, to get involved and learn more about Internet bills, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) a vocal advocate against SOPA, has release an open letter from 83 prominent Internet engineers against SOPA .
The EFF has also put together an online toolkit to help opponents become more effective activists.