Our View: Big Brother is at it again

DKS Editors

Wikipedia.org offered this message Wednesday when visited:

“For over a decade, we have spent millions of hours building the largest encyclopedia in human history. Right now, the U.S. Congress is considering legislation that could fatally damage the free and open Internet. For 24 hours, to raise awareness, we are blacking out Wikipedia.”

Google’s homepage blacked out its name and even Wired.com dawned the black censorship blocks as if their material was too risqué for eyes.

These are just a few of the sites that went on strike in protest of the Stop Online Piracy Act and Protect IP Act.

In a nutshell, every media company and entertainment industry wants to ban foreign and illegal material flowing into sites like Google, Wikipedia, Pirate Bay, YouTube and tons of others.

It may sound like a simple request, but the legislation has raised quite a bit of public outrage.

Essentially, if passed, it will censor the Internet. We’re not cool with that.

We understand that the logical side of it is trying to prohibit people from getting their television, music, movies, etc. illegally from the Internet.

But government regulation tends to get out of hand.

New York Times reporter David Carr wrote in an article “The Danger of an Attack in Piracy Online,” “the federal Department of Justice, as well as copyright holders, could seek a court order against a web site that illegally hosts copyrighted content and then wall off the site permanently.”

Private companies would also be able to sue Internet service providers that host copyright infringement.

Some argue that SOPA and PIPA go against the First Amendment. Maybe that’s a bit extreme, but when Americans’ freedoms are tampered with, extremism may be the only way to get the point across.

The above editorial is the consensus of the Daily Kent Stater editorial board.