The United States SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act) and PIPA (Protect Intellectual Property Act) will have a profoundly negative effect on online social networks if they go through. As Wikipedia describes it, the proposed legislation will not achieve the goal of stopping online piracy and copyright infringement. Instead:
They put the burden on website owners to police user-contributed material and call for the unnecessary blocking of entire sites. Small sites won’t have sufficient resources to defend themselves. Big media companies may seek to cut off funding sources for their foreign competitors, even if copyright isn’t being infringed. Foreign sites will be blacklisted, which means they won’t show up in major search engines. And, SOPA and PIPA build a framework for future restrictions and suppression.
If you’re in the USA, please consider signing the SOPA petition on Google or writing to your local representative. The Wikipedia homepage can currently direct you who to write to by simply typing in your zip code. What happens in America with SOPA will affect us all – Sociology at Work is a not for profit that relies upon information and resource sharing, as does the research and activism of all sociologists.