The Internet, the infrastructure designed and built to expedite the ability to share information and knowledge faster than any modern form has reshaped our society; integrating into our lives seamlessly and creating modern nations into an “always-on” culture. This power removes the effort of searching for a new restaurant; see its menu, or learning about what type of cooking/dishes they serve. Anyone not familiar with Baked Alaska can now search online video giant YouTube and see the process for how it is made, who makes the best, or potentially find links to a television series that specializes in baked goods. The creation of Twitter allows friends and family to communicate with each other, along with follow movie and television celebrities. This would not be possible with the bill that was working its way through the legal system. The SOPA bill would have halted this effortless flow of information in its tracks, for the sake of copyright protection and anti-piracy.
H.R 3261, as it was known in Congress, was propositioned as a bill that would assist copyright holders to protect their work by making the process to have their content removed less complicated, and give more protection to those works in the process. It was reassigned the name SOPA. It was drafted to assist in the ability of intellectual property holders to gain assistance to infringed materials and covered the protection of copyright materials such as counterfeit goods for customer purchase, and unauthorized streaming of copyrighted media.
From the perspective of someone who uses the Internet, that would mean that favorite sites like Twitter, Flikr, YouTube, or Etsy, would cease to exist. Under the provisions put forth under SOPA, YouTube, which shares cooking giant Epic Meal Time, would have had the potential for DNS seizure by the federal government. The deprivation of, “Bacon strips & bacon strips & bacon strips…” would be in due to the fact that YouTube is not solely made up of original content. If someone were to have uploaded a copyrighted item, such as a portion of a movie or song by a favorite artist, this would be legal grounds to seize the site by domain name and lead to further damages.
Philip Erdeljohn, Network Engineer for American Express/HP, shared a personal and professional concern for the legalization of SOPA. “In my field of work, SOPA would not have necessarily caused an issue for a public company in the financial sector, but as someone who uses the Internet for everything from general browsing to searching for technical discussion and how-to, it would have been a major loss. If I wanted to learn how-to cook a nice steak dinner for my girlfriend, I’m going to look up a recipe and potentially how to cook it perfect. My happiness is riding on this.” Laughs aside, Philip is very serious and continues, “If SOPA did pass, it would have meant that because someone uploaded a song from The Doors to YouTube, I wouldn’t have been able to learn how to flambé, or how to potty train my cat. The federal government would have gotten the green light to seize the Domain Name for YouTube, and pull the rug right out from under us. It was that serious.”
Cyber Security group Kaspersky Labs withdrew from the Business Software Alliance after discussions about SOPA and the conflicting stance the bill created. “Lobbying for a return to Jurassic copyright laws is like giving a blood transfusion to an already dead patient, risking the donor’s life. Governments should think about stimulating and developing new business models, rather than protecting old ones,” said Eugene Kaspersky, CEO of Kaspersky Lab.
The Internet has always been a source for people to find things they need. Whether its for work or play. People use it to find restaurants, the next food trend, jobs in the culinary industry, top culinary schools, following their favorite CelebriChef like Anthony Bourdain on Twitter or Facebook, or even creating their own Facebook fan page for themselves like one user did with My Chef Mom. All these things would cease to exist if SOPA passed. SOPA did not kill the Internet and that’s why there is the YouTube craze of PSY’s Gangnam Style.