January 15, 2012

Great Video Explaining Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA)

Watch the above video for a good summary of the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the PROTECT IP Act now making their way through Congress. Google, Facebook, Twitter, Yahoo, Amazon, Paypal, WordPress, Wikipedia, and pretty much the entire Internet community are opposed to these two pieces of legislation which could have devastating effects on the Internet through the ability of the government to shutdown websites and allowing major media companies to sue sites linking to proposed copyrighted content.

At LearnOutLoud.com we stand in strong opposition to these bills. In our attempts to support online audio & video learning we’ve tried our very best to only link to websites and content that are following copyright laws and legally hosting audio & video learning content. We do support copyright and the intentions of anti-piracy laws, but these two pieces of legislation will do little to curb piracy and potentially do a lot to change the structure and freedom of the Internet.

With our site we’ve run into a few copyright hiccups along the way such as Apple’s cease & desist from linking to any of their iTunes University content and other companies notifying us to remove links to their content. Under SOPA, companies could go right to the courts without even notifying alleged copyright infringers and the government can then shut websites down blocking access to them and preventing Google or other search engines from linking to them, creating a new Internet blacklist. Vint Cerf, one of the founders of the Internet and Google vice president says, “Requiring search engines to delete a domain name begins a worldwide arms race of unprecedented ‘censorship’ of the Web.” Right now it’s the movie and music industries that are calling for blacklisting sites, but this bill could pave the way for censorship of websites for any number of reasons. There are many more arguments against this legislation and we encourage you to educate yourself on it and take action if you care about the future of the Internet. Here are some great places to learn more and take action:

Send an Email to Your Representative

Where Do Your Members of Congress Stand on SOPA and PIPA?

And this is the site that made the above video and has a lot of great resources and ways to take action:

The White House did issue a response to the petitions on their website:

White House Response to Petitions

Once you’ve educated yourself then educate your Congressman. Adam Thierer, a senior research fellow at the Mercatus Center, gave a very telling remark about a recent hearing on the bill: “The techno-ignorance of Congress was on full display. Member after member admitted that they really didn’t have any idea what impact SOPA’s regulatory provisions would have on the DNS, online security, or much of anything else.”

Big media companies are lobbying Congress to pass the act, and without public outcry it may very well pass. This coming Wednesday, January 18, 2012 there’s going to be an internet blackout involving websites Wikipedia, Reddit, Boing Boing, and a number of other sites attempting to raise awareness about these pieces of legislation. Spread the word!