What is the SOPA bill?

Posted on January 17, 2012


The Wikipedia community announced its decision to black out the English-language Wikipedia for 24 hours, worldwide, beginning at 05:00 UTC on Wednesday, January 18 (you can read the statement from the Wikimedia Foundation here). The blackout is a protest against proposed legislation in the United States — the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) in the U.S. House of Representatives, and the PROTECT IP Act (PIPA) in the U.S. Senate — that, if passed, would seriously damage the free and open Internet, including Wikipedia.
Source: Wikimedia Foundation

But what exactly is SOPA? SOPA is a bill that would authorised the copyright holder to rules internet by blacklisting any website that hosts or gives links to files (pictures, movies, musics, etc.) without the rights. The main goal of this bill is to protect intellectual property of content creators but at what cost? The blacklist would censor on the DNS level, this means an entire website (YouTube for instance) could be unavailable anymore due to a content under copyright. This bill is an infringement of online freedom of speech because it doesn’t restrained the access to the file, but the entire content of the website that hosts or gives link to the file. Furthermore, this bill might be the first of a sequel of liberty-killing bills.

Wikipedia highlights with its black out the negative impact SOPA could have on internet. Copyright holders would have the right to make unavailable Wikipedia because of contents with copyright and cut off access to the largest encyclopedia in human history.

Here is a short video (4:20) that introduce very well the PROTECT-IP project:

PROTECT IP / SOPA Breaks The Internet from Fight for the Future on Vimeo.

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