The Internet have been buzzing over Wikipedia and Reddit's decision to voluntarily blackout in protest of SOPA, but a few popular sports Web sites have jumped in on the action too.
Popular baseball Web sites Baseball Nation and NY Baseball Digest have warned readers that they could be shut down if SOPA -- Stop Online Piracy Act -- is passed in the House of Representatives. The bill is intended to target Web sites that allow for users to illegally download movies, songs, and more. The issue for most is that the language of the bill could allow it to impact significantly more than just seedy Web sites that illegally stream the latest movie.
Critics of the bill even argue that it could doom the Internet as we currently know it. Mashable's Lance Ulanoff argued that it would take us all back to the thin-pipe, content-distribution days of 1994 -- right before the World Wide Web launched.
The blackouts of Wikipedia and Reddit have raised a lot of awareness about the potential ramifications of the bill. Google has also lent its support in the manner by covering up its Google Doodle to simulate the censorship that SOPA would create.
Like many businesses, entrepreneurs and web users, we oppose these bills because there are smart, targeted ways to shut down foreign rogue websites without asking American companies to censor the Internet, a Google spokeswoman told CNET before the protest. So (today) we will be joining many other tech companies to highlight this issue on our US home page.
The effects that SOPA and its companion bill, PIPA, have on the sports world are likely less than on some other industries, but that didn't stop NY Baseball Digest editor Mike Silva from fretting about it.
In theory, this bill could allow MLB to shut me down on a whim without a chance of a fight, Silva wrote in a post titled 'MLB Supports SOPA and That Should Bother You.' Do you think sites that criticize Bud Selig or a specific team would get more scrutiny? With all the laws on the books it's highly likely they could find something to tie you to a violation. If you don't believe me, clearly you don't understand this country's modern corporate culture and what it's about.
The MLB has consistently been the most active major sports league in fighting copyright issues against Internet properties. It actively goes after sports Web sites, including Deadspin, to remove any sort of video due to copyright infringement. The idea that MLB might have even more power to pursue issues like those is certainly something that should bother people.
The NFL is also supporting the SOPA bill, but neither the NBA nor NHL has endorsed it.