So how does SOPA and PIPA impact you, the individual surfing the web and not necessarily contributing to web sites or doing any business or marketing on the web. Well, according to PC World one of the aspects that could have impacted you the most is being taken out:
“The lead sponsor of the U.S. Stop Online Piracy Act, a controversial copyright enforcement bill, will remove a much-debated provision that would require Internet service providers to block their subscribers from accessing foreign websites accused of infringing the copyrights of U.S. companies….Why should anyone care? After all, few would defend the activities of these pirate sites. But limits on speech here are almost certain to be extended to other cases. If links to pirate sites are banned, why not links to sites disseminating national security secrets? Or sites “facilitating” violence by propagating extreme political positions? Moreover, other countries that have pursued content controls of their own, such as China, may be encouraged by steps in the U.S. to limit content.”
The First Amendment Center online
But it hasn’t been taken out yet – meaning if you have Time Warner Internet and they think a certain web site is infringing on copyrights of U.S. companies they can make it so you can no longer view that web site. They could be censoring what you see – think of it like back in high school and middle school. A lot of sites (porn sites, or any sites including the word ‘sex’ at my high school) were blocked – you couldn’t access them from your computers, and that was the school’s decision, but imagine that the Internet Service Providers could just block and make it so what ever site they choose is unfit would be unable to be viewed. That’s just one example.
PIPA is the Protect IP Act which could “seek legal action by suing search engines, blog sites, directories, or any site in general to have the black listed sites removed from their website.”
You could be trying to search for something on Google and not be able to find what you’re looking for due to PIPA.
Now SOPA will impact Youtube so much. You know those cute kids who sing songs? Yeah well, say good-bye to that. If you want to put a video of you or your friends dancing to a song or doing covers of a song – too bad, because that’ll be copyright infringement and be taken down. A lot of Youtube would be taken down, because some of them could just have the tiniest bit of “copyright infringement” or be suspect of it. It would make it so you potentially couldn’t watch your favorite Youtube-er anymore. Families could also face legal action just because their 5 year old was on Youtube singing Mariah Carey. And Youtube as a whole could be shut down just because that one little girl’s video was uploaded.
Freedom of speech is also jeopardized as a blog on Heritage.com reports:
“The constitutionality of this provision is uncertain. Many legal scholars, such as Marvin Ammori of Stanford Law School, argue that this requirement directly violates the First Amendment. Although use of copyrighted content is largely unprotected by the First Amendment, Ammori points out that content merely associated with copyrighted material but is itself not infringing is entitled to traditional First Amendment scrutiny. This includes much content covered by the proposed restriction—for instance, background material on a site otherwise used for infringement.”
So think about that.