You may have heard the news or noticed that many of your favorite websites this week blacked out their content in protest of the legislation known as SOPA and PIPA. These laws seek to protect copyright holders by censoring sites that share their copyrighted media. There are varying opinions on the issue, but, for the most part, internet companies and their users are against these bills.
Columbia, Missouri native and social media expert Clay Shirky lays out the legislation and why it’s bad.
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For further insight into SOPA and PIPA, follow the links below as well as the video we posted on PIPA a while back here.
- EFF’s One-page Guide to SOPA
- Reddit’s A technical examination of SOPA and PROTECT IP
- DYN: How these bills would break DNS
- Wikipedia (now that it’s not blacked-out) articles on SOPA and PIPA
While protecting copyrighted material from pirating is an important issue, we must consider how this legislation as well as the media industry’s inevitable next attempt at clamping down on media sharing will affect how we use the internet in schools. Consider all the sites that depend on user-generated content such as Google, YouTube, Facebook, and countless others. Then consider how we use these same sites in our schools. The value sites that enable sharing – copyrighted or otherwise – bring to the 21st century learner’s education is invaluable.
This isn’t really a political argument as most of the bills’ original backers are now backing out of their support. However, it is important for us to stay aware and be prepared for the next round of legislation proposing to do the same things SOPA and PIPA intended to accomplish.
Zac Early is an instructional specialist with the eMINTS National Center.