January 24, 2012

What is SOPA Why does it matter?

By Michelle Eigenheer–

Students all across the nation had to resort to doing legitimate research on Wednesday when they found that the popular resource website Wikipedia was almost completely inaccessible.

Wikipedia, along with websites such as Reddit and Tumblr, blacked out the majority of their websites in order to protest the Stop Online Piracy Act, known as SOPA, and the Protect Intellectual Property Act (PIPA), which have recently been big bills in the House and Senate, respectively.

These bills, prominent in the media since around November, have the entire Internet electrified with protest and confusion. The acts would ultimately prevent any website from presenting copyrighted information, including photo and video content. This means a major deflation of content for a lot of big websites. Google, Yahoo, Facebook, Youtube, Twitter – they’re all going to suffer tremendously.

The average person will also take a hit. No longer will people be able to Google the newest pictures of Jessica Alba or Youtube video reenactments of the “Single Ladies” dance. No more will screen caps of “The Big Bang Theory’s” Sheldon be available for nerd-lovers to enjoy, and you might as well say goodbye to all of that music you were looking forward to illegally downloading.

Don’t worry too much, though – Wednesday’s virtual protest did some good. Because of the widespread opposition and the influx of calls to representatives, the number of Representatives who opposed SOPA reportedly grew from 31 to 101 in just one day. This was enough to convince both parts of Congress to hold the bill for a later time, buying the Internet just a little bit longer to find a way out of the situation. Internet users are vital to keeping these acts from turning into law. Call your local Representatives and voice your opinion before it’s too late.

ABOVE: The Republican party has yet to show any candidates to be taken seriously. Obama’s lack of competition seems to guarantee his reelection.

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Cartoon illustration by Michael Layman/The Louisville Cardinal

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