January 18, 2012
SOPA & PIPA Blackout!
What The Heck is Going On?!
If you've been around to sites like Google, Wikipedia and other American-run websites today you've probably already seen some of the SOPA & PIPA Blackout.
SOPA (The Stop Online Piracy Act) and PIPA (The Protest Intellectial Property Act) are two American bills which were created to give the US Government and the Entertainment Industry the power to stop people from distributing copyrighted material over the internet.
This is a GREAT idea! Everyone knows that Stealing is wrong and when you create something, it's yours to give away or profit from as you see fit.
Just one problem. That is NOT what SOPA and PIPA would really do. Not to over-simplify but SOPA and PIPA would basicly give the US Government the ability to block sites that the Entertaiment Industry feel are doing something wrong without any oversight, so you don't have to go to court or even get a warrant. They would do this in a way that threatens freedom of speech and even the internet itself.
If you decide to make a video of you and your friends playing AQW, use your favorite song as the soundtrack and post it on YouTube, the RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America) could hold YOUTUBE responsible for what you posted. They could, possibly, have the entire site blocked from all search engines and cut off all forms of payment putting YouTube at risk and possibly killing one of the most amazing vehicles for free speech in the world today.
It might even put games like AQW at risk. Since there is no oversight, some of out punny knock-offs and pop-culture references would not be protected as Satire but might be regarded incorrectly as stealing someone else's ideas for our game. If SOPA or PIPA came down on AQW, they could block all forms of payment to the site and we'd have to shut down the game and possibly the company.
Those are extreme examples but only TWO examples of what might happen. SOPA and PIPA would change the way the internet works for America and, because the internet is a global community in which American is a driving force, it would also change the way the internet works for the entire world.
The worst part is that SOPA and PIPA were written by people who don't really understand how the internet works so it would kill legit sites but the hackers and pirates would keep on stealing and it wouldn't do a thing to slow them down.
We want to stop piracy, not break the internet.
We're throwing our voices in with hundreds of thousands of others world-wide and asking the US Government to hear us and make sure that these bills do not become laws. The Senate will begin voting on January 24th.