Why the web is "going dark" today

Wikipedia on January 18, 2012

Click to see more "blackout" pages

The website Copyblogger has a great post on the Stop Online Piracy Act—the reason sites like Wikipedia are "dark" today. Here are a few highlights.

SOPA is the Stop Online Piracy Act, written with the intent of more vigorously protecting copyright around the web. The entertainment industry wants to come down harder on file sharing and the theft of copyrighted material, so it lobbied for a draconian law to add to the many anti-piracy laws that are already on the books.
SOPA would be a sweet deal for giant music and entertainment companies. That’s why the law got written in the first place.

But it’s not a good deal for countless small businesses in the U.S., including yours.

SOPA is bad for the economy, at exactly the wrong time

The worldwide economy is in fairly horrible shape, and it’s entrepeneurial, nimble small businesses (like yours) that are going to get us out of it.

Small, privately held companies are where the new jobs are coming from. They’re where game-changing innovation is coming from.

And they’re where the smart jobs are coming from … the kinds of jobs that can’t readily be outsourced and don’t lend themselves to automation.

As anyone who’s ever worked in (or founded) a small company knows, the little guys tend to live on the edge. They don’t necessarily have six months of payroll in the bank. They don’t keep an attorney on retainer to fight a fraudulent accusation.

The last thing in the world we need right now is a law that puts small businesses, especially small web-based businesses, in danger.

Particularly when those businesses haven’t done anything wrong.

It’s not just small business that takes the hit

It’s not just small businesses that will be affected — the big technology-based companies (you know, the kind that create tens of thousands of excellent jobs) are intensely worried about SOPA.

They’re afraid that they can’t build the next chapter of the web (which will almost certainly continue to be based around sharing and social activity) if they’re hamstrung by a clumsy, over-broad law.

That’s why Google, Wikipedia, Amazon, and other game-changing tech companies have threatened to shut down for an internet blackout day to raise awareness of the dangers of SOPA.

Head over to Copyblogger to read their whole post and what you should do next (at various commitment levels, whether you’re a political junkie or someone who can’t stand politics). What are your feelings on SOPA and PIPA? Let us know in the comments.