What is SOPA/PIPA and how does it affect Malaysia and the rest of the world?
SOPA and PIPA in the US allows anyone, but in particular the entertainment industry, to shut down a website (even a forum) for posting infringing content. At the same time, it also allows these same companies to stop services like Google and Wikipedia to show links leading to such sites, even if the sites linked have nothing whatsoever to do with the infringing content.
Realistically, this implies that an entire domain, let’s say Blogspot or WordPress.com, could be taken down by Universal Music Group complaining about a random blogger writing in just a single post about how they hate the new Black Eyed Peas single.
If your server is located in the United States, it will be taken offline without warning if it is deemed to be infringing content. The worst part of all is that you, as the user or owner of the domain, have no recourse. SOPA and PIPA are missing something the Americans are very fond of, called “due process”, by which the accused may defend themselves in court.
You don’t have to be a US citizen for this to affect you. This law basically enacts the Great Firewall of America, which would function much the same way as the Great Firewall of China does, with one key exception. You’d be watching private corporations, such as Universal Music Group, censor you for the expression of your thoughts (and when you consider they censor a news show for commenting on an issue they don’t like…). If America does this, what’s to stop the Malaysian Government from doing the same?
So what can you do to stop this?
The good news is: plenty. The easiest is to hit up your American Friends or post on all your Social Media Networks (Facebook, Twitter, G+, LinkedIn and the like, which, ironically, are the same sites that would be subject to such censorship) and tell them about #SOPA and #PIPA.
You can also visit http://americancensorship.org/ to learn more.
The bad news is that only Americans can prevail on their own government to stop this bill from passing. But you can do something. So go do it.
PS: See Wikipedia to check out what would happen if SOPA and PIPA are passed.
Original entry as appearing at Ink to Screen.