Social Media, Where Art Thou?

How Social Media Is Fighting Back Against Occupation

The Internet, since its origins, has been a place of imagination, innovation, creation and sharing. Its growth has been nothing short of tremendous, setting the stage for the next level of content creation and publishing. In this age, we are absorbing the majority of information and connecting with the world through our screens and everything is at our fingertips. Our world is now digital and social, allowing us free and open discovery, expression, and sharing. However, recently, our digital nirvana has been ruffled and threatened by the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), a heinous anti-piracy bill that recently ran through Congress.

For those who are just now hearing of SOPA (if you have been living under a rock), it was a bill that would have given intellectual property owners the power to completely pull the plug from sites against whom they have a copyright claim -- and which could almost go completely unchecked as long as a letter of "good faith belief" was presented. Another, possibly even more appalling part of SOPA, is in its "vigilante" provision, that payment processors or content providers would not even need a letter to shut off a site's resources, if they have reason to believe a site is infringing. SOPA could have created an "Internet blacklist" that could have adversely affected the Internet that we use/have today.

On January 18, SOPA bill lost its support due to the monumental backlash from millions of American's who value their freedom and that of the digital world. The anti-SOPA rally aligned itself with some of the Internet's biggest names (Google, Wikipedia, Facebook, Reddit, and over 10,000 other websites) and President Obama, all going against the ominous bill in order to protect an open and innovative Internet.

Online piracy is a serious matter that should be dealt with as technology continues to evolve. The SOPA/PIPA bills were too broad and simplistic to accurately combat online piracy. Bills created to stop online piracy need to be handled by those who truly understand the Internet and its many intricacies, in order to avoid unintended consequences. The truth of the matter is that the SOPA/PIPA bills could have caused more damage than good. Americans are those who would have suffered most, not big business and/or the pirates. Interestingly enough, if someone were caught illegally downloading a Michael Jackson song, he would receive a five-year prison term. This is in stark contrast to the one-year prison sentence that the doctor guilty of his death will serve.

This creation and the attempted passing of this bill, and future ones to come, has created a terrifying and looming threat for our digital world, with the knowledge that our identities online could one day be at the mercy of the government, big businesses with vested interests, and other individuals. The Internet is one of the United States' largest and fastest growing industries, and these bills can and will, if passed, further cripple our economy and damage a large part of our culture - and destroy our digital nirvana. Something tells me, the bird has been chirping away on Twitter.