Enough large-scale idealism: letâ€™s dive into how SOPA and PIPA would affect you. Here are seven ways this legislation would affect your everyday life.
1. Anyone Can Kill Your Website - and Your Livelihood.
Under the proposed legislation, all someone has to do is file a complaint of copyright infringement about your site and:
-Your ad campaign is shut down (choking off your ad revenue)
-Your Payment Processors cut you off (no more PayPal or credit card payments from your website)
-Search engines remove you from their listings (again, you donâ€™t exist).
-Your reputation is tarnished,
-New visitors canâ€™t find you or your site via search engines,
-Your revenue ceases.
This happens without legal consult, without a courtroom visit, without a full-scale investigationâ€¦what ever happened to being innocent until proven guilty, Congress?
Furthermore, if itâ€™s determined that your site didnâ€™t have a copyright infringement in the first place, you canâ€™t sue the accusing party for wrongfully shutting down your livelihood.
2. Youâ€™ll Be Held Accountable and Punished For Someone Elseâ€™s Actions.
If someone else posts a link to a site with a copyright infringementâ€“ even if itâ€™s just on one page of your site, in one comment â€“ youâ€™re still considered the guilty party. Your entire site is flagged, your PayPal restricted, etc.
Someone posts a link to a Taylor Swift cover song on YouTube in your comment section? Your site can be shut down. It makes no difference that you didnâ€™t post it.
3. You Can Go to Jail
The bill calls for a penalty of up to five years in prison for a copyright infringement. Post a Hipster Ariel picture, photoshop a movie still, put together a dance routine to â€œTotal Eclipse of the Heart,â€ or sing a cover of Adele and you could face five years in prison.
Five years in jail for posting a video? Really, Congress?
4. Your Favorite Sites Will Censor What You Post...Sites like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube will have no choice to censor what you post or risk a lawsuit or a site shutdown. Picture the FCC operating on your social media streams. I picture some moustached moderator painstakingly watching all of my video blogs just to make sure I donâ€™t have "Moves Like Jagger" playing in the background. And even if I did have Moves Like Jagger (I donâ€™t, for the record), I deserve the the right to show off those moves to my friends and family without Facebook rejecting my video for fear of lawsuit.
5. While Others Will Be Forced Out of Existence: Do you think sites like reddit, Wikipedia, and Tumblr REALLY have the financial resources and personnel to monitor every single submission for fear of copyright infringement? Theyâ€™d be forced to go dark: just like Reddit, Wikipedia, and BoingBoing are doing on January 18th in protest of SOPA.
6....And Still Others Will Never Be Invented.
SOPA and PIPA discourage Internet startups who donâ€™t have the financial or legal means to fight copyright infringement claims. Just imagine Pinterest trying to survive in a post-SOPA world.
7. Finally, and Most Importantly: Your Voice Will Be Limited
This will affect what you post. Itâ€™ll affect what you publish. Itâ€™ll limit what, where, and if you can comment on the things that concern you. The risks attached with SOPA will force the sites you use everyday to limit user interaction: and in a world where revolutions are raised online, your voice has never been so important.
Need an example of what the virtual world might look like under SOPA? Hereâ€™s a visual example of what the Internet might look like on SOPA, taken from our very own comments section on the CopyPress blog:
Any of these comments (especially Daveâ€™s link to a Family Guy clip) can cause an intellectual property owner to flag the blog for copyright infringement. Instead of contacting CopyPress to request the comment to be taken down, the entire CopyPress.com site would be punished - even though the site didnâ€™t actually link to the aforementioned video.
Photos on Twitter, Links on Facebook, comments on the Huffington Post, Tumblr submissions, and Pinterest pins are just a few of the current Internet features that would have to be shut down or strictly monitored.