Although Congress will still go forward in starting their preliminary bid to pass SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act) and PIPA (Protect IP Act) tomorrow, President Obama has come out in recent days and said he will not support the bills ‘as is’, if Congress passes them in their current form. SOPA and PIPA are bills originally drafted by two Democratic leaders to appease the Hollywood sponsors to allow them the ability to bring copyright infringed websites to their knees should they or a commenter violate any far reaching scope of current copyright laws. It’s so broad, that if a commenter links to a copyrighted video on You Tube, production companies and Hollywood Film companies have the right to have the website shut down and have it’s advertisers withhold their earnings.
Since it’s original draft, the bills have garnered bipartisan support.
Before today, Obama has been disappointingly silent on the twin censorship bills. The problem is — the upcoming election. Obama and the Democrats get a lot of support from the Motion Picture Industry and ‘Hollywood types’ who seem to be extorting politicians into stifling the freedom of the Internet in effort to eliminate bootlegged material from surfacing on the net. While most of these types of infringements come from overseas file sharing sites, the bills punish everyone by taking on an almost Draconian measure of censorship among Internet users and content providers. As difficult as it is to monitor comments, any slight misstep in oversight could effectively shut down online entrepreneurs. Websites like Reddit that simply link to copyrighted material would cease to exist. The bills could very well change the way we share information on the Internet, limiting what we can and can’t say or link to.
In an election year, the President has to walk a fine line, but the bills are far from being dead. While the White House came out and said that it wouldn’t support the current drafts of the legislation, it did say that it would support revised drafts. Hollywood is not going to let this go and they are going to call out favors for political donations.
Among high profile protestors of the proposed bill are Wikipedia, Google, Reddit, Twitter and Facebook. In light of the current administrations willingness to pass a similar bill in the near future, many of these web giants are staging a protest tomorrow and schooling their visitors on how this bill will change the recreational use of the Internet as we know it and asking the public not to waver in its opposition.