Just how serious is SOPA? Serious enough to push Mark Zuckerberg to send a tweet.
The young CEO of Facebook to his Twitter account for the first time in almost three years to actually send a tweet.
His message was quite simple:
"Tell your congressmen you want them to be pro-internet," Zuckerberg wrote before sending users to a post he wrote on Facebook.
Zuckerberg joined other tech leaders, like Jack Dorsey, and companies, such as Wikipedia and Google, by taking a public stand against the controversial Congressional measure Wednesday.
SOPA would give the US Justice Department the ability to track and go after Internet pirates, has rallied some of Silicon Valley's largest tech companies together to oppose the measure.
Many of the people who saw Zuckerberg’s tweet and Facebook posting on SOPA shared it with friends.
Others, saw the black censor box over the famous Google Doodle and clicked to learn more.
“I just signed the petition they had online,” said Nick Alonzo of San Jose, adding, “I agree that we need to have piracy protection, but to ask social media sites to censor there’s gotta be a better way to do it.”
Alonzo was among the patrons of Orchard Valley Coffee in Campbell who were talking about the proposed legislation.
Carmela Bearchild, a DeAnza College student from San Jose also clicked around to find out more, when she went to Craigslist to look for a job, but found a blacked out screen instead. She people and companies who put their work online benefit more than they lose when people share that work with others.
“When things become viral it kind of brings attention to these people. And it kind of helps people get their name out there. People have become famous off the internet,” Bearchild said.
U.S. Senator Dianne Fenstien of San Francisco is one of the co-sponsors of a bill aimed at fighting piracy and theft of intellectual property. But the founder of Skattertech, an website dedicated to tech, says she and the other sponsors got it all wrong.
“The people who wrote this law have no understanding of the way the internet works,” said Sahas Katta. “The way we’re going about it, to actually criminalize customers and stripping the rights of Americans to protect a little bit of copyright is absolutely the wrong way to go about it.”
He may have a point. Three of lawmakers who backed the bills pulled their support, including Senator Orrin Hatch, one of the original authors.
Katta says the answer is to innovate, not regulate and that corporate backers of the bill ought to look instead to some of the practices of companies like Netflix, Amazon, Spotify and Rdio to see solutions that drastically reduce piracy.
If SOPA and PIPA pass as written, Katta says, "Otherwise, we could end up with Internet that’s highly censored and controlled like other government that we dread so much."