Today, you may have some difficulty getting on sites like Wikkipedia. Why? Congress is trying to pass the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), and the Senate follows suit with it’s own bill, the Protect IP Act (PIPA).
These bills are intended to assist in protecting copyrighted material and intellectual property. But what does that really mean? It means that the internet will be policed by government administrators that will shut down the platforms you use. Unauthorized content on WordPress or Tumblr would cause the company to go under. So, some sites are participating in an internet blackout to protest the bills.
CBS News explained that these bills also give the Justice Department jurisdiction to force other companies to stop doing business with rogue sites, even if they are off shores:
The bills would give the Justice Department the power to go after foreign websites willfully committing or facilitating intellectual property theft — “rogue” sites like The Pirate Bay. The government would be able to force U.S.-based companies, like Internet service providers, credit card companies and online advertisers, to cut off ties with those sites. (Full article)
These bills just seem preposterous. Society advances because we take an existing idea and expand upon it. How to Steal Like an Artistby Austin Kleon illustrates this point perfectly. (Please take a look!)
So don’t be angry with sites that have gone off the grid today. They’re actually trying to help keep the internet the place we know and love – the place where pirates still roam free.