Imagine a website where all information in the world is easily accessible by all people at all times. Oh, and also editable and therefore sometimes pretty much wrong.
That’s Wikipedia, the beautiful, and sometimes grossly inaccurate encyclopedia of the Internet. With just one website, somebody can quickly and successfully access whatever information on whatever topic they could ever be interested in!
Just try to name one other website that allows you to find information on the internet so quickly and efficiently.
But because the Internet is such a wonderful fairyland of free information, a terrible, awful, no good, very bad thing called
sharing piracy happens.
What is piracy, nobody asked? Well, it’s kind of like stealing stuff. Except kind of not. It’s more like this:
Imagine you buy a chair. Then, somehow through the MAGIC OF TECHNOLOGY, you’re able to copy that chair and give it to a friend. Congrats, you just created an economy in which monetary transaction isn’t necessary to get the things that you need.
Sucks, doesn’t it?
But that’s basically piracy: copying stuff and giving it to other people so they don’t pay money for it. Sure, it’s not a good thing. After all, there are poor starving musicians out there who can’t afford to continue what they love doing because people aren’t paying for their music.
So the U.S. Government drafted up an idea called the Stop Online Piracy Act, or SOPA. The intent of the bill is to protect intellectual property by giving the government the ability to block parts of the internet that it feels have violated copyrights. However, the wording of the bill actually just gives the government the ability to block out whatever website it wants. It ends up being an infringement on First Amendment rights, is Internet censorship, and will open up a hole in space and time and kill us all.
Therefore, some very large websites have united to “blackout” against this alleged internet censorship today by completely ceasing operations. Wikipedia is the most significant one, as millions of people every day trust it to give them information they so desperately need.
Another significant website that is down today is Reddit, where a huge amount of people spend their entire day in an attempt to feel popular (the rest of the world attempts this by blogging).
It’s really amazing to see entire websites take a break from their livelihood in order to make a statement and prove a point such as this.
Just try to name one other time that people have made such a grand statement in order to make a stand.
But the point remains: SOPA is a bit of a big deal. So today, while you freely surf the Internet, feel free to check out what SOPA actually is. Visit Google, or Wikipedia, or Reddit, and find out what petitions you can sign or who you can contact to fight against this bill.
Because residents of the internet have to fight for our right to
party keep the Internet free.