Opinion

Staff Editorial 1/23: SOPA threatens Internet rights

On Wednesday, Wikipedia shut down for 24 hours, Google blacked out their label and Reddit went dark, a virtual protest against the possibility of Internet censorship.

Recently, the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and Protect Intellectual Property Act (PIPA) have been making its way through Congress.

If passed, SOPA would give government the ability to take down any international website containing unauthorized copyrighted material. U.S. House Representative Lamar Smith introduced the bill last October stating that foreign websites are “stealing our profits, stealing our jobs and endangering Americans,” according to an article in the New York Times.

At the time he presented the bill, Smith had 12 co-sponsors, but no one else seems to be jumping on the SOPA bandwagon. The few proponents for this bill state that SOPA is needed to protect the intellectual property industry and enforce copyright laws. If this bill were to pass, which is a possibility, any foreign website blamed for breaking U.S. law would have 48 hours to appeal the court decision. If not, American companies like Google, Yahoo and PayPal, would have five days to act upon the court order by removing any hyperlinks, advertisements and any payments being processed for the website in question.

PIPA, which is similar to SOPA, was introduced in the House, while SOPA is in the Senate. PIPA was introduced last May by Senator Patrick Leahy and 11 co-sponsors.

Although it is understandable that the government wants to protect businesses and websites from foreign and domestic copyright infringement, debilitating Americans’ basic rights cannot be the solution. In theory, SOPA and PIPA sound efficient, but in reality, the cost of limiting citizens’ rights is not the solution.

Censoring the Internet goes against everything we, as Americans, believe in. If Congress allows this bill to be passed, it will open the door to similar legislation and we may be in North Korea and China’s communist shoes before we know it. The best way to protect businesses is to protect the Internet. The Internet was created to be uncensored, unregulated and free – a modern marketplace of ideas. It promotes communication, economic growth and democracy. And that’s how it should stay.

Editorials represent the majority view of The Miami Hurricane editorial board.

January 22, 2012

Reporters

The Miami Hurricane


Around the Web
  • Miami Herald
  • UM News
  • HurricaneSports

Either the Miami Hurricanes get a collective adrenaline rush from heart-palpitating fourth quarters, ...

Mark Richt is not overly concerned with depth. Not when the eighth-ranked Miami Hurricanes (6-0, 4-0 ...

After jumping three spots from No. 10 to No. 7 last week in the Amway Coaches Poll (one spot better ...

University of Miami weak-side linebacker Michael Pinckney is definitely old-school Miami Hurricane. ...

The question came straight at Ahmmon Richards, like a tight spiral. And this time, he was locked in. ...

Univeristy of Miami’s Wynwood Art Gallery holds its annual faculty exhibition featuring thought-prov ...

From a game simulating how whales navigate to a tribute to Ella Fitzgerald, the U showcased some of ...

A new mobile game called Blues and Reds, now available worldwide, aims to help researchers study int ...

A major Lancet Commission report, a three-year project headed by UM’s Professor Felicia Knaul and co ...

With a $6.8 million NIH grant, the UM School of Nursing and Health Studies and FIU Robert Stempel Co ...

The Hurricanes grabbed four interceptions and another ACC victory as they defeated Syracuse, 27-19, ...

The Miami women's tennis team wrapped up play Sunday the ITA Southeast Regional Championships P ...

As a Hurricane Club member, you are invited to participate in the 25th Annual University of Miami Ha ...

Kolby Bird had a career-high 21 kills, but the Hurricanes dropped a five-set battle to Notre Dame on ...

The Miami soccer team recognized its four seniors Sunday afternoon and then dropped a hard-fought 2- ...

TMH Twitter Feed
About TMH

The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published weekly in print on Tuesdays during the regular academic year.