SOPA Sparks Online Uprising


House Judiciary committee Chair Lamar Smith introduced the Stop Online Piracy Act on Oct. 26 of last year. SOPA aimed to protect companies from copyright infringement on the Internet by giving the government the power to shut down infringing websites. When the Internet community caught wind of this, large-scale protests began in order to prevent SOPA’s passing. It was through these protests that I became familiar with SOPA and the injustice it aspires to bring.

America boasts a government working for the will of the people, however, seven million signatures on Google’s petition against the bill, did not stop SOPA. The government simply postponed SOPA until February, to allow the bill to lose attention so as to pass with ease. Although the government “upholds” the will of the people tricking us is does not reflex that and goes against the ideals of American society.

The United Nations even declared Internet access a basic human right. With SOPA, we would still receive Internet access, but in an altered manner. Under the “free” American ideals, I did not expect to be treated like a prisoner only allowed to see and do government-approved things. I find infringing on copyrighted material a lesser crime than infringing on a basic human right. I should not fear that my government will manipulate the Internet and alter the information I absorb.

I understand that companies want protection from copyright infringement, but the Digital Millennium Copyright Act already provides that. The DMCA allows companies to request that infringing material be taken down. Clearly this works, when I have looked up clips from a TV show or movie on YouTube I am faced with a “We’re Sorry” message stating that the video contained copyrighted material. Any desire for more protection through the government stems from a want of increased power.

SOPA expands the government’s power to a scary height and goes against American ideals of freedom. The government needs to recognize that SOPA contradicts the will of the people and should terminate all attempts to pass it.