The Sticky Issue of Internet Censorship

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Yesterday was American Censorship Day. The timing couldn’t have been more perfect: Bloggers, social media marketing gurus and activists alike have all been keeping a watchful eye on the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA). The bill was taken to the U.S. House yesterday and was the subject of a heated hearing. But what is the bill really about and how could it affect those of us who in the blog creation business?

Censorship on the Internet is one of those tricky topics that most of us in the sparkling copy world want to avoid. After all, when you’re blogging for business, the main goal is to create posts that will entertain a variety of readers and not alienate certain groups. But SOPA would enable the Justice Department to take down websites it “determines to be dedicated to copyright infringement,” meaning that websites of any quality would be subject to a government kibosh depending on the judgement of one department. Wrapped in the shawl of “homeland security,” SOPA could be the 2011 version of redneck book burning.

On the other hand, copyright infringement is a big problem, too, and something needs to be done about it. But we’re not sure entrusting the Justice Department to make the call on which sites are guilty of infringement is a great idea. Nevertheless, it doesn’t serve the blogging or marketing communities to panic. Tumblr, in an effort to bring awareness to the cause, censored users dashboards with a link on the top of the page that read “Stop the Law that Will Censor the Internet.”

So, readers, what do think: Does SOPA stand a chance of passing? And if it does, how will it affect your blogging practices?

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