On January 18th there was a blackout. Not in the literal sense, but on 10,000 websites that were opposing congressional regulation that would seek to regulate the intellectual property from foreign websites.
The bills that caused sites like Craigslist, Google, Wikipedia and WordPress to blackout for a day are the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) in the House of Representatives and Protect Intellectual Property Act (PIPA) in the Senate.
After the Internet blackout the bills have halted and leaders in Washington are reconsidering these two bills.
As media company’s look for ways to fight piracy, they’ve unsuccessfully sued individual users, asked internet providers to take action against subscribers and have enve worked with the U.S. government to shut down domains based in the U.S. that allow piracy. However, this has not been enough. Companies feel that these two bills will help them regulate how foreign companies steal copyrighted material.
The U.S. Department of Justice could seek court orders that would require Internet service providers to block the domain names that infringe on these sites or the right holders of these sites could seek court orders that would require payment providers, advertisers and search engines to stop doing business with those sites that infringe. However, the problem still exists and creates an issue for big industries in the business.
The bills are of concern to big industries like the Motion Picture Association of America along with major music studios and Google. Movie and music studios have seen profits wane due to illegal downloading
Congressional leaders see the bill as a means to addressing the problem of foreign thieves that steal and sell American inventions and products.
Opponents don’t believe either SOPA or PIPA truly address the false accusations that will arise from these bills.
For now, the bills have been shelved due to the blackout, but leaders on the Hill warn that this debate is far from over.