Copyrighting or censoring?

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Lately the news media has been publishing stories about SOPA, PIPA and ACTA.

But just what exactly do those letters stand for?

The acronym SOPA stands for Stop Online Piracy Act.

PIPA is a proposed law that stands for Preventing Real Online Threats of Economic Creativity and Theft of Intellectual Property.

ACTA is an agreement between more than two countries that stands for the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement.

So what do these new bills and proposed laws mean? And how will they affect us?

In an effort to stop trafficking of intellectual property and counterfeit goods, media companies are working with the U.S. Government to shut down websites violating copyright laws.

SOPA and PIPA are bills that are aimed to prevent copyright infringement on overseas websites such as The Pirate Bay and MegaUpload.

The bills will stop Internet users from accessing those type of sites as well.

Google, Wikipedia, along with other websites, participated in protesting SOPA and PIPA with a service black out, boycotting companies that supported the bills, and taking part in an online petition on Jan. 18.

It was because of these online protests that the United States Congress decided to delay voting on these bills, but not before MegaUpload, among other websites, were shut down.

ACTA is basically the same as SOPA and PIPA, the only difference being that this agreement was signed by the U.S. back in Oct. 2011.

I believe the government is taking things too far.

Of course there is nothing wrong with giving credit to where credit is due.

But to censor, or in other words, shut down a website just because it links back to “offending” websites is completely ridiculous.

Not to mention the liabilities, investigations, lawsuits and fines that a website or a regular Internet user will have to go through and pay are an invasion of privacy and uncalled for.

What is needed is a different kind of bill that better defines what is considered copyright infringement and who will be persecuted.

Otherwise this is just another excuse for the government and billionaire companies to make more money.