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SOPA: The Power of Social Media in the Legislative Process - Research Paper Example

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Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA): The Power of Social Media in the Legislative Process Title of Course April 19, 2012 Facebook, Wikipedia and Twitter are among the H.R. 3261 bill opponents who are concerned about the House bill language being “so broad that it would allow content owners to target U.S…
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Download file to see previous pages 3 This effectively informed everybody about the impending denial of their right to free speech because of SOPA. Thus, the “overwhelming negative response” of the people made the legislators’ decision to delay the SOPA bill until they can be re-examined. 4 This depicts how social media has dominated the broadcasting of information and opinions that affected even a nation’s legislation process. The case of SOPA is indeed evident that the internet and social media have become powerful tools in engaging constituents to determine the success or failure of legislation and cannot be ignored when making policy. Internet users now have a seat at the bargaining table. What is SOPA? The House bill 3261 which is the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) that was proposed in October 2011 in the U.S. Congress by House Judiciary Committee Chair and Texas Republican Lamar Smith has caused a great controversy with the giant companies in the internet and social media.5 According to this legislation, H.R. 3261 aims “to promote prosperity, creativity, entrepreneurship, and innovation by combating the theft of U.S. property, and for other purposes.” 6 Should it be successful in being approved as a law, H.R. 3261 is basically the anti-piracy law that will punish any proven internet thief with immediate shutting down of the entire site and removal of all web linkages associated with it.7,8 However, there was a divided reaction both from the most influential sites and the smaller ones. On the good side, it was thought that the legislation is a protection for the creative companies. On the other side, the legislation is thought to be used as a tool for deprivation of the freedom of speech and expression, and may just undermine the due process.9 SOPA’s basic operation against piracy is to “stop U.S. companies from providing funding, advertising, links or other assistance to the foreign sites.”10 It will enable Justice Department prosecutors to stop the pirate sites from acquiring U.S. visitors and funding.11 Examples of this is the torrent hub like The Pirate Bay that is a “trove” of illegal downloads.12 Its servers are physically located in Sweden.13 The aim of SOPA is to withhold any linkages and connection from U.S. search engines, advertising networks and many other providers to these pirate sites.14 It only means that when anybody try to do an online search using Google, search results will exclude these pirate sites.15 In terms of e-commerce, it would mean that Paypal would be unable to transmit payment to them.16 These methods actually sound reasonable in fighting against crimes like this. However, how come the big names in the internet oppose SOPA? According to the Conspiracy Theories website, there are 353 major companies that agree with SOPA. 17 Most of these are from media companies who believe “that online piracy leads to U.S. job losses because it deprives content creators of income.”18 Some forums about this imply that there is an underlying power control issue between the government and the giant internet companies.19 A hidden fear exists that the government is being overtaken by the overwhelming success of these internet companies. The SOPA supporters, as the forum states, are those companies who trade members with government agencies.20 The evidence of such is that one really cannot find a big internet executive name that holds a government position.21 There must be ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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