Trying to understand SOPA? Here are some helpful links

This is a screenshot of what Wikipedia's homepage looked like on Wednesday, Jan. 18.

In recent days, SOPA and PIPA have practically been the only things talked about in the news. While these proposed laws are very complex, sites like Gizmodo and Mashable break them down into very easy-to-understand terms. Mashable describes these bills on their website as “bills currently before the US Congress that threaten to undermine the openness and freedom of the Internet.”

  • Gizmodo has a great article on what exactly SOPA, the more talked about of the two bills, is.
  • Mashable has a list of sites that were blacked out on Wednesday as well as the sites that participated in protesting SOPA in some way, shape or form. As you can see above, Wikipedia was one of the sites that shut down their site completely.
  • Storify has a collection of stories related to SOPA and PIPA on their site.

Finally, an opinion piece by Mashable’s Chris Heald titled “Why SOPA Is Dangerous” is a must-read article. Heald offers a very straightforward look at how the bill may impact our lives:

This bill turns us all into criminals. If it passes, then you either stop using the Internet, or you simply hope that you never end up in the crosshairs, because if you’re targeted, you will be destroyed by this bill. You don’t have to be a big, mean, nasty criminal — common Internet usage is effectively criminalized under this law. This bill will kill American innovation and development of the Internet, as it will become too risky to do anything of value. It is toxic and dangerous, and should not, under any circumstances, be supported.

You should also participate in Google’s call to action by going here. I am against SOPA and you should be too.

1.22.12 update: SOPA is now dead. Mashable has coverage here as well as a timeline of “the week that killed SOPA.”

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