Stop Online Piracy Act

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First page of SOPA bill in Congress

The Stop Online Piracy Act or SOPA is a proposed American law to stop copyright infringement on the Internet.

The Internet community had major discussion over it, but the bill was not passed.[1] According to experts, the proposed changes to the internet would have worldwide effects.[2]

There are critics who point out hidden risks and consequences which are unplanned.[3]

Protest[change | change source]

The English language Wikipedia page from 18 January 2012, illustrating its international blackout in opposition to SOPA and PIPA.

Some people and businesses support the new law. Others are alarmed by the law. The supporters worry that current copyright laws are not effective in shutting down piracy websites. The opponents worry that it is a kind of censorship.[4] It is hard to tell which side is correct because the language in the law is still being written.

The English Wikipedia masked most of its pages with a banner on January 18, 2012.[5] They did so after about 763 out of 100,000 editors voted to take this step. They used JavaScript to do this, which means that people could avoid the banner by just disabling JavaScript in their browser.[6] The Wikipedia blackout is intended to spotlight the value of open access to information on the Internet.[7]

Other websites joined protests against SOPA.[8] For example, Google put up a black censor board in front of its logo.[9]

Many critics questioned the value and likely effects of the protests.[10] Some people questioned the timing of the protests.

Related pages[change | change source]

References[change | change source]

  1. Jones, Melanie. "What is SOPA Bill 2012? 7 Things to Know About Controversial Legislation," International Business Times (US), January 18, 2012;McCullah, Declan. "How SOPA would affect you: FAQ," CNET (US), January 18, 2012; retrieved 2012-1-18.
  2. Seibt, Sébastian. "SOPA et PIPA tentent d’imposer au monde une vision américaine du droit d’auteur," France24/RFI, 18 January 2021; retrieved 2012-1-18.(French)
  3. Espinel, Victoria et al. "Combating Online Piracy while Protecting an Open and Innovative Internet," White House (US). January 14, 2012; Friedman, Allan A. "Cybersecurity in the Balance: Weighing the Risks of the PROTECT IP Act and the Stop Online Piracy Act," Brookings (US), November 15, 2011; retrieved 2012-1-18.
  4. Azarova, Kaerina. "Wikipedia blackout: 24-hour strike against SOPA, PIPA is on," RT (Russia), 18 January, 2012; retrieved 2012-1-18.
  5. Kaszor, Daniel. "Why is Wikipedia offline and what is SOPA?" National Post (Canada), January 17, 2012; English Wikipedia anti-SOPA blackout; retrieved 2011-1-18.
  6. Melanie Pinola. [1] "How to Access Wikipedia During the Anti-SOPA Blackout"]; retrieved 2011-1-18.
  7. Goodale, Gloria. "Wikipedia blackout: Why even supporters question anti-SOPA move," Christian Science Monitor (US). January 17, 2012; retrieved 2012-1-18.
  8. "Loi antipiratage américaine: RSF ferme son site en anglais en signe de protestation," L'Express (France). 18 January 2011; Hourdeaux, Jérôme. "Ce mercredi, c'est la 'Journée de la censure américaine''," Nouvel Observateur (France). 11 November 2011; retrieved 2012-1-18. (French)
  9. Tsykayama, Hayley. "SOPA protests planned by Google, Wikipedia and others on Jan. 18," Washington Post (US), January 17, 2012; retrieved 2012-1-18.
  10. Barnett, Emma. "Wikipedia Sopa blackout won't solve the problem," The Telegraph (UK). 18 January 2012; retrieved 2012-1-18.

Other websites[change | change source]