On Saving the Internet
SOPA. A bill that has become synonymous with complete censorship, black tape, and protest.
If the Stop Online Piracy Act goes through in Congress, the internet as we know it today may cease to exist. What if it was found that my blog was hosting an ad that was promoting pirated content? I could be shut down. Not the ad providers. Me. For hosting their ad. Now, I'm not saying that I host ads from pirates (I most certainly don't, and AdSense doesn't let those through), but you can see the point. It would be catastrophic for sites like Facebook, Reddit, Google, and Wikipedia, because of all of the user uploaded content that goes onto those sites. One pirated photo, video, piece of software; boom. It can all go down.
Wikipedia and many other sites today are blacking their websites out in protest, to show just how catastrophic their takedown would be to the world. Wikipedia is especially effective in its protest, because everyone relies on it for information. I definitely noticed when it wasn't available.
Take the Apache Flex project, for example. What if someone posts some code that they got from the Adobe Flex project? Some of that is still owned by Adobe. That would be piracy. Under SOPA, all of Apache could be taken down for that minor offense. Not just the Flex project. All of Apache.
Please, go and send letters, tweets, emails, whatever, to your representatives. They need to know just how bad SOPA is, and what it will do to the world of creativity, and the internet as a whole. Don't wait. Don't let it get too late. Send letters today to convince them to shoot the bill down in its tracks. If you value the internet, what it brings to you, and its community, please take action.
Arthur Rosa is an engineering manager based in Sunnyvale, California.