How SOPA and PIPA Affect You and Your Business

By: Jake

Nobody likes politics, we’re with you on that, but when new bill proposals threaten the freedom and liberty of internet commerce and communication, you’re sure as jack we’re gonna stand up against them! Why are we (among other social media marketers) getting all fiery about this? Because if these new bills are passed, they could smother the livelihood of all those who live, work, and surf the web (and that’s almost everyone we know!).

SOPA, the Stop Online Piracy Act, brought to the limelight earlier this month, was initially designed to limit the illegal pirating of entertainment, music, movies, and other goodies online. It’s legislative counterpart PIPA was lobbying for the same cause. However, if given this authority, it is reasonable to imagine that the government would extend their jurisdiction even further in due time. Any website (ours, yours, and all others) that display, or even contain any link or content related to pirated entertainment, would be subject to censorship and perhaps even termination.

Thank Jobs the bill didn’t pass, or else we might find ourselves back in the stone age (or more realistically, the ‘90s…eww). And the reason why the bill didn’t get signed was because of a truly inspiring and amazing movement of social power–the people. If you were, for some reason, under a rock or in a coma (no offense) during the better part of January 18th, 2012, then you would have missed the momentous SOPA Strikeout. By no small measure, it is without a doubt a historic moment in the internet timeline, marking thelargest online strike to date. All cognizant and proactive internet users (we optimistically hope this includes more Americans in the future) protested by blacking out their website for 12 hours on that day. Big names like Google, Wikipedia, and Reddit were at the forefront, showing what disturbance a search engine withdrawal could cause. It skillfully demonstrated how serious the blockage of information could affect our present and future world. And certainly it was a victory! Congress re-shelved the bill just 2 days later. We like to imagine them blown away by 30-foot stereo speakers booming the voice of the people. But that isn’t to say the battle for control is over. Congress is reconfiguring the bill and may lobby it again in the near future. With the solidarity of the American people, we will be able to govern what is best for us, and not let our silence determine our futures. You better believe we supported the blackout on the Little Jack website, and we’ll be there the next time it comes around too.

So what does all this mean for small internet businesses? Well, for businesses that run on advertising, censorship would no longer be supervised by the users themselves, but by government-related ‘internet police’ that would search for even the slightest violation and then possibly shut down access to the site. If you haven’t read George Orwell’s “1984”, look into it. Seems like we might be heading into the direction of the Thought Police if this eventually does become a reality.

The common response to this precarious situation is: what should we do now? Staying informed is probably the first thing. Use your internet capabilities for productive things, people; not stupid things. The beauty of America that we often take for granted is our freedom (we promise not to get too sappy here), if our communication and self-expression is censored then we will be trapped by rules and regulations that don’t allow us to say or share things we really want to say or share. Social media is strong enough to start political revolutions, let’s use it as a tool to keep our freedom and enhance our world, not stifle it.

Join us, we’re all about posting and tweeting for prosperity! And that means, we’ll be able run our business that allows you to run your business.