SOPA and PIPA, how does this affect you?

On the 18th January 2012, Wikipedia and various other major websites went “black” in opposition to SOPA and PIPA. Read on as Apex Computing Services explain why…

What are SOPA and PIPA?

The Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), is a bill that was introduced in the US House of Representatives (The US equivalent to the House of Commons) on the 26th October 2011, if made law, the bill would allow the United States law enforcement and copyright holders to fight online trafficking in copyrighted intellectual property and counterfeit goods. It builds on the similar PRO-IP Act of 2008 and the corresponding Senate bill, the PROTECT IP Act (PIPA).

The PROTECT IP Act (Preventing Real Online Threats to Economic Creativity and Theft of Intellectual Property Act or PIPA), is a proposed law that will give the US government and copyright holders the power to curb access to “rogue websites dedicated to infringing or counterfeit goods”, especially sites registered outside the United States, it was introduced on the 12th May 2011. The Congressional Budget Office predicted that execution of the bill would cost the US government $47 million through 2016, to cover enforcement costs and the hiring and training of 22 new special agents and 26 support staff. The bill was passed by the Senate Judiciary Committee, but US Senator Ron Wyden placed a hold on it. A vote has been scheduled on the legislation for the 24th January 2012.

How does this affect me?

If passed, SOPA and PIPA could cause some major websites, like Wikipedia, to close down permanently. The legislations would force all websites to ensure they don’t link to any websites that break the new laws or face hefty fines. This means that websites that rely solely on donations, like Wikipedia, will not be able to afford to continue operating with the extra cost of hiring additional staff to check external websites.

What can I do to help?

More than 162 million saw the Wikipedia blackout page yesterday. We need you to voice your protests on Facebook, Twitter, MySpace or any other ways you can think of using the hashtags: #ApexAgainstSOPA #factswithoutwikipedia, #SOPAstrike and #wikipediablackout