Can You Spell SOPA?

by MW Cook

     Wikipedia’s down. xkcd, too. Go see if you don’t believe me. A lot of web sites are protesting this bill called SOPA. It’s creating a lot of on-line tension.

     Protests like this tend to produce knee-jerk reactions. Have you noticed that? Do you know what SOPA is? Or PIPA? Odds are, you don’t know the ins and outs of it. Most people don’t, unless you count a quick glance through a wikipedia article. But that didn’t stop you from forming an opinion as soon as you saw people protesting about it, did it?

     Maybe it did. Maybe you’re one of those rare people who thinks things through and gathers information before you decide to oppose or support something. If you are that kind of person, I thank you. You are saving the world.

     But let’s be honest, most of us don’t do that.

     When the Occupy Movement was at the height of its power, most folks did not take the time to understand it or its goals. They just rejected it (if they leaned to the right) or fully embraced it (if they leaned to the left).

     The same thing happens at most elections. Folks just vote for the party that has the honour of being listed in the ‘good guy’ section of their brains. And they are opposed to politicians and preachers who are in the ‘bad guy’ section.

     It’s hard to be informed, though. Most issues are complicated and it takes more than a quick skim through a web site to get an honest grasp on things. No one is obligate to get informed, of course. But I just think that if I can’t be bothered to understand things, I probably don’t really have the right to argue with people about them.

     I think SOPA is a bad and dangerous idea that will hurt the Internet. But don’t take my word for it. Read about it yourself. And then take action.