Thursday, January 19, 2012

What's all the Furor over SOPA/PIPA?

Over the past couple of days, you may have heard about SOPA and PIPA and have heard that WIKIPEDIA went dark for 1 day in protest of the bills. The Internet search engine giant, Google, placed a blackout across its name on its main search page.

You may be asking what is all the furor over.

First, let us look at the basics. SOPA stands for "Stop Online Piracy Act". It is US House Bill 3261. The sister legislation in the US Senate, HR 968, is called "PROTECT IP Act" (PIPA).  The full name is "Preventing Real Online Threats to Economic Creativity and Theft of Intellectual Property Act of 2011".

Both bills do essentially the same thing. They shut down access to illegal web sites that may be enfringing on copyrights. However, the bills may go too far and provide the government with more power over the Internet.

I found this wonderful video by Khan Academy that breaks down the bills and explains why people are upset.

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