The SOPA Story

Censor Stamp

Over the past few months, there’s been quite a SOPA controversy.  In case you never looked into it, SOPA is short for “Stop Online Piracy Act.”  It was introduced so that the U.S. government could have more control over online trafficking of copyrighted materials.

In short, you can call it an Internet death penalty.

On January 18th, many websites went “black” to bring awareness to the situation – Wikipedia being the most popular.  So what were they really protesting?  What would happen to the Internet if the bill were passed?

Allow me to enlighten you:

SOPA would allow the U.S. attorney general to obtain a court order against any website (like a search engine, a DNS provider, an advertiser, a server, or a payment processor) that is in contact with a website “dedicated to infringing activities.”  These websites could then – very easily – be shut down.  Even the website we use to post our blogs would be targeted.

For those of us who don’t have the authority to be shutting down websites, this affects us too.  For one, copyright infringement would be a lot easier to commit.

For example: Let’s say you teach graphic design at your local high school.  One day, you write a blog about successful logo designs for your students and you include a picture of Apple’s logo as an example (because you think the white and grey fade is delightful).  Apple doesn’t like the fact that you used their image – even though it was praised, and they can drag you into a legal tussle.

We would also be denied access to major websites like Wikipedia, Facebook, YouTube, MediaFire, and Twitter because they are targeted as sites where online piracy could happen.  So if want to sing your favorite Bob Dylan song and put it on the Internet for everyone to see, whatever website you post it to may have to remove the song or risk being shut down (and you could be dragged into legal action).

And if you store your photos, videos, or even simple thoughts on the Internet, they could be in jeopardy too.

How Would SOPA Affect SEO?

Any company that focuses on SEO would have to comb through all of the content it’s worked on to make sure nothing can be flagged as probable. Interlinking between websites may have to be disabled (which would kill a good portion of SEO work) and Google indexing may become more difficult, since they would need to adjust to any new regulations. Overall, anyone who does SEO would have to start walking on eggshells if SOPA were passed.

As of right now, SOPA has been put on the backburner, which is good news for us at Prager.  We can continue to do what we know and love – build and optimize websites.  If you’re interested in using our search engine optimization consulting to build your business on the web, give us a call and let’s take advantage of the freedom of the Internet.

Client Spotlight

Check out some of the work we've done to help these clients succeed: