Online Protests Force Congress to Rethink Bills

Congress put two controversial bills on the shelf last week. The Stop Online Piracy Act (“SOPA”) and Protect IP Act (“PIPA”) received a lot of attention from the public. Over 13 million people made their voices heard, mostly online, and forced Congress to halt any votes planned for the two bills.

Many people viewed the bills as a restriction on the right to free speech and an obstruction to obtaining information online. The problem with many of the targeted websites and the information they allow visitors to obtain is that some of the information, programs, etc., that they have is not theirs and violates United States copyright laws.

On the other hand, many see the bills resulting from politicians attempting to keep campaign money flowing into their campaigns from certain companies; you scratch my back, I will scratch your back approach. Whether the bills came about because politicians genuinely want to protect the IP of people and companies, or because large campaign donors pressed them, something does need to be done to protect the IP of individuals, companies, and the United States government.

If Congress is able to rework the bills so they are less restrictive on internet users and still provide sufficient protection to holders of IP, then they may pass with relatively little public opposition. However, that remains to be seen. If Congress passes similar bills in the future, expect some changes to your internet experience.

Information or this article can be found at http://www.pcworld.com/businesscenter/article/248 586/sopa_and_pipa_what_went_wrong.html

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