SOPA Sweeps the Web

Alyssa Retske and lakecentralnews

In October of last year, Texas Representative Lamar S. Smith introduced the Stop Online Piracy Act, or SOPA, in the U.S. House of Representatives. Little did he know, SOPA would be the victim of major public objection and spark one of the largest censorship controversies in U.S. history.

“[SOPA] was a really horrible idea. The internet is all about free speech and individual rights. SOPA was against that,” Matthew Toczek, Computer Technician, said.

SOPA would block all websites leading to illegal movie and music downloads. It would also fine or shut down any websites with links to copyright infringing material. Essentially, putting limits on what people are allowed to post on Facebook, Youtube or Twitter.

“Sites like Wikipedia and Reddit allow individuals to post whatever they want. With SOPA, if they break those copyright laws, the site can be shutdown,” Toczek said.

On Jan. 18, thousands of websites encouraged their viewers to contact their local representative and petition the bill. After that day, political support for SOPA took a nose-dive and voting on the bill has been postponed.