What’s this SOPA all about, anyways?

Thank you, MassLive.com, for this great graphic. (please don't shut me down)

In the past few days we’ve been bombarded with messages regarding SOPA and today, some of our favorite sites have been blocked. Big, black boxes are covering content and keeping us from obtaining something. Information. Some of our favorite Websites are taking a stand against SOPA, the Stop Online Piracy Act.

And while the idea that is SOPA seems effective in theory, it’s not. It’s not a form of preserving originality. It’s another form of the government and big businesses attempting to assert control of information. If it looks like it’s been lifted, we’re taking it back.

This footage of Mario Lemieux’s goal in the 1992 Stanley Cup Final that you’re watching on your lunch break? Or watching, instead of coming up with new ideas?

It’s embedded on someone else’s blog. And taken from YouTube. Under SOPA, the government would believe that ultimately, that footage doesn’t belong to you. So they’re blocking your access to it. Heck, and as today’s story on TheClassical.org states, even YouTube, which hosts that footage, could be subject to SOPA. Because technically, that footage does not belong to them.

Good.is also has a bullet-point summary of what SOPA (and PIPA) is and how it could affect the audience on its homepage.

It’s all hypothetical at this point, and who knows what the future of SOPA holds. Or, after this day of awareness, if it has a legitimate future. But all those black boxes you’re seeing today on some of your favorite sites? They’re making you aware of the issue that confronts us.

So, basically, if this were to come to fruition, the government would have the right to effectively block your domain – and your work. It’s something that could even affect legacy media – many of those institutions are using video, screengrabs, photos and logos in digital media initiatives.

This counters one of the principles our country was founded on and has thrived on – the free exchange of ideas. While SOPA could encourage us to think original thoughts and create original content (um, isn’t that what we should be doing?), in a way, it keeps us from doing that. Consider that new ideas and influences are the birth of previous notions.

How would we effectively access ideas – and information – if our government was, ultimately, controlling our messages?


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