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What Are SOPA and PIPA, and Why Should You Care?

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You may have heard a lot of talk over the last couple of days about “SOPA” and “PIPA”, while noticing some popular websites going dark today in protest. So what are they and what do they mean to you?

To put it simply (although honestly, there’s no simple way to explain either), SOPA, or the “Stop Online Piracy Act” and PIPA, the “Protect IP Act” are both intended to help stop the flow of illegally pirated material over the internet (movies, music, software, etc). While that is the general intention, many feel that the bills, in their current states, could also lead to online censorship.

For a more in-depth description, CNN Money has a pretty comprehensive look at both.

Our colleagues over at TheFW also have a list of popular websites that have “gone dark” today to protest.

One funny thing that I think has come out of all of this…yesterday I noticed a lot of Facebook friends encouraging others that, “if you have to do research, do it now, Wikipedia will be unavailable tomorrow”. Whatever happened to going to the good ol’ library to write a paper?? (In fact, when I was in college, we weren’t allowed to use Wikipedia as a source. But I digress…)

Do you have any thoughts on online piracy and/or possible censorship? Feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments below!

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