By Candace Laxamana, Courier News Editor
You may have noticed that on January 18, 2012, Google had a black box over it's logo. This is because many major websites have "censored" or "blocked" their websites for 12 to 24 hours in protest of SOPA and PIPA bills.
These bills were put out with good intentions in mind, but many internet users, and sites think this is the American version of "The Great Firewall of China."
The SOPA bill stands for the "Stop Online Privacy Act". This bill is a House Bill in which the House of Representatives will vote on later this year.
PIPA also known as the "Protect Intellectual Property Act" stands for Preventing Real Online Threats to Economic Creativity and Theft of Intellectual Property Act. This bill originated in the Senate, and the Senate will vote and discuss this issue later this year.
The goal of the SOPA and PIPA bills is to "censor" or "block" anything that is copyright. It blocks any music, images, videos, or gifs that could potentially break existing copyright laws. Through SOPA and PIPA, major companies owning any part of the music, image, video, gif, etc. will be given federal authority to sue, not only the person posting it, but the site in which the item is posted additionally.
SOPA also targets counterfeit drugs as well. The bills would block any site that is selling any illegal or counterfeit drugs.
These bills had quite a few supporters, including the Motion Picture Association of America, the Recording Industry Association of America, Macmillan US, Viacom, Nike, L'Oréal, and various other companies and unions in the cable, movie, and music industries.
Conversely, there are many opponents to the bills, including Google, Yahoo!, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, AOL, LinkedIn, eBay, Mozilla Corporation, Roblox, Reddit, the Wikimedia Foundation, the ACLU, etc.
Many websites, such as Tumblr, Wikipedia, and Reddit have decided to voice their displeasure by blacking out the usage of their websites in protest. "The Internet Blackout" will, in effect, give a taste of what the internet could become if such bills are passed.
*Editor's Note* Amid the protests, Representative Lamar Smith (R-TX) has pulled SOPA from consideration in the hopes that more support can be gained for the bill in the future. The vote on PIPA that was supposed to have a vote in the Senate on January 24th has additionally been postponed. A new bill, PCIP, has been proposed by Representative Smith that carries several of the same provisions as the original SOPA bill.