Web

Mozilla asks users to join ‘Stop SOPA & PIPA’ campaign

stop-sopa-pipa

The end of the Internet as we know it may be right around the corner — but not if the Mozilla Foundation has anything to say about it. The maker of Firefox, a non-profit organization, has launched a campaign to help block the passage of both the ‘Stop Online Piracy Act’ (SOPA) and the ‘Protect IP Act’ (PIPA), each of which may soon go up for a vote in Congress. Those who join the campaign are asked to call their senators and representatives and express their ardent opposition to these bills by this Tuesday.

What are SOPA and PIPA, anyway?

Both PIPA and SOPA aim to crack down on websites that illegally distribute copyrighted material, like movies, songs and TV shows, just as the 1998 Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) tried to accomplish in the past. What makes them particularly controversial is that they also have the ability to establish a precedent of Internet censorship never before seen in the US, by allowing corporations (copyright holders) and the US government to require Internet service providers to block access to domains they feel infringe on intellectual property rights, to block payments (through direct donations or ad sales) made to suspected sites, or to sue sites (like Google, for instance) that they think don’t do enough to block access to copyright-protected content. This chilling factor is especially true for SOPA, which critics say could establish the “Great Firewall of America,” a reference to the strict censorship placed on online activity in China.

Supporters and critics

Because of the great power SOPA and PIPA give to copyright holders, these bill have strong support from the entertainment industry, including the Motion Picture Association of America and the Recording Industry Association of America, among other major content creators. In the opposite corner are a wide number of technology giants, including Google, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, AOL, LinkedIn and even Microsoft — a long-time proponent of stricter copyright protections.

Other possible consequences of SOPA and PIPA

In the addition to the risk that an incalculable number of innocent websites could find themselves blocked behind an iron curtain — something that could happen simply because a company like Universal or Sony believes a site may be contributing to copyright infringement — critics argue that SOPA and PIPA would fail to stop online piracy because people could still access infringing site by simply typing in their IP address, rather than the domain name. Cybersecurity experts say these bills, if enacted, threaten the very structure of the Internet because the Domain Name System (DNS), which translates domains like “digitaltrends.com” into their corresponding IP addresses, would be tampered with to such an extent that the entire World Wide Web could face a slew of detrimental security risks.

Conclusion

In short: SOPA and PIPA would likely do little to achieve their explicit goals of curbing online piracy. They would give corporations and the US government broad powers to censor the Internet, while at the same time making the entire Web less secure.

SOPA is likely to go up for a vote in the US House of Representatives soon, and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is expected to call PIPA up for a vote as soon as next week.

If you believe these pieces of legislation would be detrimental to the Internet we all know and love, join Mozilla’s campaign to block passage of these bills here.

Watch an in-depth video explanation of PIPA

PROTECT IP Act Breaks The Internet from Fight for the Future on Vimeo.

Computing

YouTube beats Apple, Netflix as the most trusted brand by millennials

The popular video sharing website YouTube climbed up in an annual Mblm study, moving up from third place in 2018 and coming ahead of both Apple and Netflix in final 2019 rankings. 
Movies & TV

The best movies on Amazon Prime right now (February 2019)

Prime Video provides subscribers with access to a host of fantastic films, but sorting through the catalog can be an undertaking. Luckily, we've done the work for you. Here are the best movies on Amazon Prime Video right now.
Web

Switch up your Reddit routine with these interesting, inspiring, and zany subs

So you've just joined the wonderful world of Reddit and want to explore it. With so many subreddits, however, navigating the "front page of the internet" can be daunting. Here are some of the best subreddits to get you started.
Computing

Use one of these password managers to help protect yourself online

The internet can be a scary place, especially if you don't have a proper password manager. This guide will show you the best password managers you can get right now, including both premium and free options.
Computing

Russia will ‘unplug’ from the internet as part of a cyber-defense test

Authorities across Russia are planning on unplugging the country from the global internet as part of a test of its cyber defenses. The disconnection will briefly keep all internet traffic inside the country.
Gaming

These are the coolest games you can play on your Google Chrome browser right now

Not only is Google Chrome a fantastic web browser, it's also a versatile gaming platform that you can access from just about anywhere. Here are a few of our favorite titles for the platform.
Mobile

Is the 5G spectrum harmful to our health? Experts say, 'Don't freak out'

There's plenty of consumer anxiety about radiofrequency (RF) radiation, specifically around millimeter waves (mmWave) used on 5G networks, but is it based in reality? We asked the FDA to give us its official view on the subject.
Web

Gmail adds lots of new functionality to its right-click menu

Right-click on an email in Gmail and the list of actions is pretty limited. That's about to change, though, as Google has just announced it's expanding the list of options to make its email client that little bit more useful.
Computing

Tired of paying a monthly fee for Word? The best Microsoft Office alternatives

Looking for a competent word processor that isn't Microsoft Word? Thankfully, the best alternatives to Microsoft Office offer robust features, expansive compatibility, and an all-too-familiar aesthetic. Here are our favorites.
Computing

File Transfer Protocol explained: What FTP is and what it does

FTP stands for "File Transfer Protocol," and it's used to transfer files online. Most internet users don't need it, but web developers use it constantly. Here's what FTP is, how it works, and how you can get started using it.
Computing

Make a GIF of your favorite YouTube video with these great tools

Making a GIF from a YouTube video is easier today than ever, but choosing the right tool for the job isn't always so simple. In this guide, we'll teach you how to make a GIF from a YouTube video with our two favorite online tools.
Computing

Lose the key for your favorite software? These handy tools can find it for you

Missing product keys getting you down? We've chosen some of the best software license and product key finders in existence, so you can locate and document your precious keys on your Windows or MacOS machine.
Computing

From beautiful to downright weird, check out these great dual-monitor wallpapers

Multitasking with two monitors doesn't necessarily mean you need to split your screens with two separate wallpapers. From beautiful to downright weird, here are our top sites for finding the best dual-monitor wallpapers for you.
Social Media

Instagram test reveals direct messages may be coming to browsers

Instagram for the web has always been a minimalist affair compared to the feature-rich smartphone app, but in the last few years that's started to change. The latest news is that Instagram is considering adding direct messages.