SOPA and PIPA Bills Delayed

A decision on Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and Protect IP Act (PIPA) has been postponed. Mr. Lamar Smith, Chairman of House Judiciary Committee, said he could come to a decision only when a compromise was reached.

SOPA and PIPA are anti-piracy bills that are being considered by the House of Representatives and the Senate. These bills are to address the issues of hosting pirated content on foreign servers. Under these bills, the websites that host infringed content or links to infringed content will be blocked.

If passed, the bills could jail anyone found guilty of streaming pirated content without permission for up to a period of 5 years. That could also mean that no service provider will be able do business with alleged copyright infringers. Coming out in unison against the bills, thousands of websites including Wikipedia ‘blacked out’ for 24 hours in the past week. After the online protest, the support for the bills has decreased.

Members involved in the process of the law being passed have been flooded with emails and phone calls, asking them to not support the bills. These bills are aimed at decreasing online piracy of illegal copies of movies, music and other media.

Passing these bills could mean that a lot of content would not be available for the people. Major supporters of the bills include television networks, music publishers and movie producers. However, Facebook, Wikipedia, Yahoo, Ebay and many others are against the bill.

After Wikipedia’s protest, a few lawmakers have withdrawn their support for the bills. The online protests have shown how much free knowledge means to people. Google has been working on collecting signatures on a petition against these bills. The ‘blackouts’ of various websites have been considered as an abuse of power by some.

The reasons for these protests are that, if these bills are passed, the content that is available in America and the world will be limited. The change would be more than noticeable. Like Wikipedia says, the protests are not over yet. There is a lot more for the virtual and the real world to see before a decision will be made on the bills.

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