The Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), is a bill that was introduced in the United States House of Representatives on October 26, 2011. The bill, if made law, would expand the ability of U.S. law enforcement and copyright holders to fight online trafficking in copyrighted intellectual property and counterfeit goods.
That’s suppose to be a good thing right?
The PROTECT IP Act (PIPA), is a proposed law with the stated goal of giving the US government and copyright holders additional tools to curb access to “rogue websites dedicated to infringing or counterfeit goods”, especially those registered outside the U.S.
Why would anyone want to oppose this too?
VIDEO: PIPA/SOPA breaks the internet
So in short, these two Acts if passed will ‘censor the internet’, and well ‘protect intellectual property and fakes’.
On one side supporting these acts are organizations that rely on copyrights such as Motion Picture Association of America, theRecording Industry Association of America, Macmillan US, Viacom, and various other companies and unions in the cable, movie, and music industries. Supporters also include trademark-dependent companies such as Nike, L’Oréal, and Acushnet Company. Others include the NBA, NBCUniversal, Pfizer, Ford Motor Company, and Revlon
On the opposing side, The White House (Yes! Obama openly opposed these Acts), Google, Yahoo!, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, AOL, LinkedIn, eBay, Mozilla Corporation, Roblox,Reddit, the Wikimedia Foundation (owners of Wikipedia), and human rights organizations such as Reporters Without Borders, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), the ACLU, and Human Rights Watch. Kaspersky Labs, and number of online service companies joined in to oppose.
Personally, I do oppose the acts, but I want to try to neutral so, here are some resources that could help put things in perspective.
In light of recent online protest against the bills – including Wikimedia shutting down its Wikipedia English service for 24 hours, Google getting over 4.2 million signatures in an opposing petition, Mark Zukerberg tweeting after 2 years against the bill – a few among others; the supporting power of bills took a downward turn, as a number of legislators moved from supporting.
Isn’t that a United States problem? Why should Nigerians be worried?