Last week, the Smartling team marched down to 780 Third Ave. to join the New York Tech Meetup’s emergency meetup to protest SOPA and PIPA. It doesn’t take much (really, any) brainpower to understand why we Smartlings were at the protest. SOPA and PIPA, according to a statement from the White House, “undermine the dynamic, innovative global Internet” – we couldn’t stand for that, so we stood against it – along with the rest of the NY tech community.
SOPA and PIPA contained broad language, open to interpretation and thus, open to abuse. Both pieces of legislation were poised to disrupt tech startups, cloud computing, web hosting, user-generated content and much, much more. It’s the opposite of Smartling’s mission, dividing the web through broad legislative language instead of connecting it by providing the web in all languages.
Thankfully, both are dead… for now. But there have been reminders that the war is not won, that an open global Internet might not be open forever. And it’s not an issue limited to the U.S.; a SOPA-like bill is currently under review in Canada’s House of Commons. This is a global issue, as highlight by Michael Geist in his recent blog post: “While SOPA may be dead (for now) in the U.S., lobby groups are likely to intensify their efforts to export SOPA-like rules to other countries.”