About Me

My name is Spencer. I'm 23 years old, and I'm a junior at Princeton. So far college has taken me five years. I've taken time off to work, transferred to USC and come back, and learned a lot along the way.

I like to think about life and what I'm going to do with mine.

I've met a lot of people my age with the same sorts of thoughts so feel free to read, take surveys, and comment.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

You can't sensor the internet! Stop SOPA & PIPA!

As many of you probably know, there's an internet blackout today for many of the world's most visited sites, including Google, Wikipedia, Reddit, Craigslist, and many others (even some pornographic websites). The blackout raises mass public awareness towards the Stop Online Piracy Act and the Protect IP Act and calls for all of us internet users to contact our local representatives in an attempt to kill those proposals!

SOPA, if passed, would allow the U.S. law enforcement and copyright holders to, essentially, censor the internet and remove everything deemed as "copyrighted intellectual property." That includes essential parts of Wikipedia (photos and exerts of literary pieces), much of YouTube (like trailers and movie clips etc), search engines (which won't be able to link to any infringing sites), and much, much more! It would make "unauthorized" showing and streaming of "owned" content a crime with a maximum penalty of five years in prison for ten such infringements. The bill also would grant immunity to any internet companies and/or services that choose to take action against such infringing websites (such as removing the copyrighted material).

PIPA, if passed, would allow the U.S. government and copyright owners tools to stop websites that have copyrighted materials on their websites, especially those outside the U.S.! Again, censoring the internet!

These acts will not only affect the United States, but also the entire world! The internet does not belong to anybody, and seeing as many of these popular websites are based out of the U.S., our government would be banning material to everybody, not just Americans! Let alone, it's against the First Amendment, or our right to free speech. Not to mention the cost! It will cost our government millions and millions of dollars to implement and get this bill going if it is made into law. They will train specialists and form committees to simply censor the internet rather than using that money for better things such as education, helping the world economy in a time of crisis, and more. Are we really willing to sacrifice our WELL-BEING to protect large companies that don't need the money? These bills will stifle and halt progress if they are allowed to pass. Let's get out there and try to stop them!

For an easy way to find your local representatives, click on the Wikipedia link above, type in your zip code, and all the information will come up. Even if you're from another country you may write and/or call United States representatives or senators to give your opinion as well!

Some articles (among thousands):
Reuters, Huffington Post, ABC News, Forbes, and CNet

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