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SOPA. PIPA. What are These and How They Could Affect Pinoy Web Users?

SOPA. PIPA. What are These and How They Could Affect Pinoy Web Users?

The proposed Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the Protect Intellectual Property Act (PIPA) bills in the United States may have detrimental effects to legitimate online businesses in the country.

Mounting protests against the proposed bills has reached fever-pitch with several international websites going offline in protest of these bills.

Wikipedia, Google, YouTube, Yahoo!, Facebook and Twitter are among those opposing the bills, saying these represent Internet censorship and will impede freedom of speech.

In addition, the bills are feared to threaten legitimate online businesses outside the US, especially if these are merely suspected of copyright infringement.

While the intention of SOPA and PIPA is to protect intellectual property and copyrights of those in the music and movie industries, it could also put a strain on the use of copyright-free content.

If these bills are enacted into law, alleged violators even outside the US can be prosecuted by US courts or can be blocked via DNS (domain name system) blocking and redirection.

Thus, the SOPA and PIPA could have rippling effects on legitimate websites and other online businesses. In fact, the proposals have broad description of websites that could be suspected of copyright infringement and, without a proper description, could actually sweep through all websites, even legitimate ones.

Even online forums would be affected as the simple act of posting a copyright-protected image or video by a single forum member could have the entire forum taken down.

Members of, one of the oldest forums in the Philippines, have been discussing the SOPA and PIPA.

Forum moderator Monto Gawe noted on the possibility that even their forum could be affected. One commenter, “jvandread” likened the SOPA and PIPA to a green light “to drop a nuclear bomb… whenever they want.”

A few, meanwhile, support the SOPA. A couple of comments in the blog of Coach Sonnie stressed on the importance of censorship.

One comment by “Gerry” said that he respects the right of the US to protect its copyright laws and he would only need to innovate the way he does business and added: “Being apprehensive about things like the US passing certain copyright laws is not the right reaction.”

Another comment by “croCus” said he is thankful that censorship is taking place and that the Philippines should follow and added: “With a lack of laws (and the corresponding punishment), I can just imagine that those cybercrooks would saturate in Asia and mess up our online lives.”

Both proposals are set to be deliberated by the US Senate again in the coming weeks. The outcome of the votes could decide what would happen to the Internet and the noise will only continue to increase.

- Source