Home / Spring 2012 / 2012-01-19 / Web censorship paused for now

Web censorship paused for now

The Protect IP Act (S. 968 PIPA), was postponed until further notice by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid due to the recent Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) blackout protest.

Dozens of websites, including Google, Twitpic and ICanHasCheezburger, have participated in the recent SOPA protest against the SOPA and PIPA bills.

On Jan. 18, about 115,000 websites and online businesses chose to black out or shut down their pages to demonstrate what the internet would be like if the bills were passed.

This effort worked in the demolition of the SOPA bill.

A few protesters have started a Twitter page, @sopaBlackout, and a website, sopablackout.org, to update users about the bills and how they can support the cause.

The website provides further information on what the bill stands for and pushes supporters to contact their respective representatives to stop the bill.

They also have a few reasons assembled on why the bill will not be effective.

Among the protestors of the PIPA bill is U.S. Senator Jerry Moran.

“The Internet continues to be a driving force for innovation and economic growth in our country,” Moran said on his website. “Whether you are a high-tech entrepreneur, a small business owner or a Kansan with a good idea, an open web facilitates innovation as a global marketplace for goods and services.”

The website even has a petition for those who oppose PIPA and SOPA.

Kim “Dotcom” Schmitz, founder of sites such as the media-sharing website Megaupload, was arrested for the content being illegally distributed on his website, an example of what the government can do if the bill is passed.

The website itself was claimed to have netted $175 million dollars since 2005.

Some are worried about the bill and how it could potentially harm their social and school lives.

“If the government were to get rid of social networking sites such as Facebook or Twitter, or search engines similar to Google, it would hinder students in many ways,” Leanne Mitchell, a freshman, undecided major, said.

“The books required for classes are not always reliable or easy to understand, therefore students like myself tend to research the information beyond the textbooks.”

Some VSU teachers use YouTube and Google to teach classes and therefore are worried about what the bill could be doing to technology as a whole.

“Almost everything is copy written so those handouts, personal web pages and internet sources could and will possibly draw lawsuits to teachers and students everywhere,” Jordan Marshall , a junior mass media major, said. “We don’t know the devastation that this bill will cause until it is passed, and the internet is changed forever, and I don’t want to see those ending results.”

Organizations in favor of the bill include Paramount Pictures Corp., Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures, Warner Bros., and Sony Pictures Entertainment, according to the Christian Science Monitor.

U.S. Senate Banking Committee Chairman Christopher Dodd condemned the websites for their blackouts.

“It’s a gimmick and an irresponsible response and disservice to people who rely on them for information and their services,” Dodd said.

Amanda Usher contributed to this article.

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