Online World Versus SOPA And PIPA

We are watching from the sidelines as Internet moguls GoogleFacebookWikipediaWordPress joined by hundreds of thousand others, stage what is touted as the biggest organised online protest in over a decade. The object of this opposition are two bills before Congress namely, Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) in the House and Protect IP Act (PIPA) in the Senate. While internet intermediaries acknowledge that SOPA and PIPA‘s fight against online piracy is important, they protest against web censorship which these bills when made law will bring with them.

Status Of SOPA And PIPA In Congress

The big day to watch out for is January 24th. On this day, the Senate will hold a cloture vote on PIPA. This means that, with 60 votes counted in, the cloture rules will apply which means the debates on PIPA will run for 30 hours and no filibuster, a legislative tactic employing long debates, will be allowed. Thereafter, a simple majority vote will be conducted. If this succeeds, political experts estimate PIPA to be made law by February 1st.

SOPA on the other hand is on the mark up stage. From there, rules have to be crafted for it in the House Rules Committee. Political analysts share opinion that mark up will resume February or will be delayed longer, as more ears are lent the protesters.

SOPA And PIPA: Google Calls Against Web Censorship

The Official Google Blog published on January 17 an appeal to Congress to not censor the web and put a burden on American businesses. Google argues that with SOPA and PIPA enacted as law, American companies will be granted the incentive to “shut down, block access to and stop servicing U.S. and foreign websites that copyright and trademark owners allege are illegal without any due process or ability of a wrongfully targeted website to seek restitution.”

The effect of these bills far extends the US borders as these bills grant the US Judiciary the rights to chase after websites from overseas.
In terms of search engines, these bills also grant US Judiciary the power to ban websites which it deems are linking to offensive sites.

On SOPA And PIPA: A Little Voice And Lots Of Magic

As a search engine optimisation and web design company, Magic Webs has always aligned its strategies with Google. Our SEO is white hat; our approach is in producing quality, plagiarism-free, and original content which we share over the web. As such, we feel confident that our work will not suffer even as SOPA and PIPA await passage.

The thing that keeps us alerted is the fact that we will not have a way to defend ourselves when US Judiciary decides that our content must be banned, or that our website must be banned because the US Judiciary decides to do so, on the merit of their own conclusion that we are linking to an offensive website.
This is the part that calls for more work. We take the side of Google and call for targeting the effect of the law only to the culprits, and not rendering other parties to suffer from collateral damage.

With more protests being mounted, we hope that the legacy of SOPA and PIPA is in allowing the general public to participate in shaping legislative action. We will wait and see, but in the meantime, our work of fostering the worthwhile businesses of our clients through ethical SEO and web design services continues on.