We Don’t Want To Be C******d

Tori Moses and Tori Moses

On Wednesday, November 16, 2011, the House Judiciary Committee met to discuss The Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA). Under SOPA any website found with infringing or copyrighted material is liable for court orders, resulting in major fees and even a possible shutdown by the government. In other words this act tightens the reins of the government on the Internet and censorship.

If this act passes social networking websites such as Twitter and Facebook could be subject to a lawsuit as well as search engines like Google, that display links to possible infringement sites, and payment processors such as PayPal and MasterCard.  Even YouTube could be in trouble for streaming unauthorized material.

Understandably I am very upset by this notion. The government does not need to be censoring the Internet more than it already does. If you gain no profit or benefit in any other way than from the enjoyment of sharing a funny link with a friend then why should you be subject to fines and a possible blacklist? Many see this act as a violation of free speech and I have to agree. Internet censorship is not right. People should be allowed to express themselves without the threat of the government.

Many people (the majority of online users) are against this act, and rightly so. Most of Congress is made up of men and women in their late 50’s or older. They do not know just how big the impact of this bill passing will have. This bill could “mean the end of the Internet as we know it” according to Rep. Zoe Lofgren.

Trevor Timm from Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), the main organization fighting the SOPA states, “This bill could also have a huge impact on the work of human rights advocates and whistleblowers who depend on online tools to protect their anonymity and speak out against injustice”.

I fully and whole-heartedly oppose this bill. I think it is wrong to censor people on the Internet, the number one spot to post your opinion and express yourself. As long as you are not gaining profit for it then the Government should stay out. This act is just a way for major companies and lobbyist to get more money then they already are. The Internet should be a place where people feel safe to give their views and not be worried about financial backlash.