By: CJ Ramsaran

Knowledge by definition is “Information and skills acquired through experience or education; the theoretical or practical understanding of a subject or what is known in a particular field or in total; facts and information.”

The Internet is where the greater part of the population goes to gather information.  It is a vast wealth of knowledge. It is free and open to all; and has been so since it’s inception.  Despite this, US Congress and House of Representatives are currently reviewing legislation which could see an end to the Internet as we know.

The Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and Protect IP Act (PIPA) are Bills intended to stop copyright infringement, and will target foreign infringing  sites.

SOPA is primarily supported by media companies; inclusive of, but not limited to movie studios, record labels, TV networks, and book publishers.

In their current state, both SOPA and PIPA raise serious concerns around false accusations, and censorship.  They are valid concerns and warrant further investigation prior to each bill being passed into law.

January 18, 2012 is “Go Dark” day.  It is a movement intended to stop US Congress from moving forward with legislation that may see an end to the internet as we know it, as well as certain fundamental rights and freedoms. 

Craigslist, Wikipedia (English Language), and WordPress are among those who are supporting the Go Dark movement.  They have blacked out their websites; taking a stance to ban censorship of the web.

It is pertinent we educate ourselves of the consequences of SOPA and PIPA.  Only then can we understand the impact both Bills will have on our lives and the way in which we engage and utilize the Internet.