Editor's note: This post is part of the Overheard on CNN.com series, a regular feature that examines interesting comments and thought-provoking conversations posted by the community. Share your thoughts about the technology world on CNN iReport's Tech Talk assignment.
"I used to surf the web freely, then I took SOPA to the knee."
As the clock strikes midnight, late-night hyperlinked romps through Wikipedia's user-edited annals of culture and science will pause. The encyclopedia "wiki" site will have a 24-hour blackout Wednesday in protest of the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA). Several other tech companies have stated opposition to the proposed legislation, while many media companies embrace it.
Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales said the website might not be able to operate if it is passed. Time Warner, the parent company of CNN, is among the industry supporters of the legislation. Readers wrote in with varying opinions on SOPA, and quite a few were vehemently opposed. We mentioned it yesterday, and we're exploring the issue today. Many different perspectives have surfaced.
Terryshilo: "I use Wikipedia many times a day. I contribute financially. I actually believe I'm a Wikipedia addict. I don't disagree with them making this statement, if it brings enough momentum to the SOPA issue so much the better. This is what's become all too frequent, big business actually running our government. Wikipedia is something we can contribute to individually, the federal government ... not so much."
Guest: "Most people tend to forget that the vast majority of the piracy taking place is outside the United States and so outside the laws of the U.S. The creation of a secure DNS system would not only stop this piracy but allow the U.S. to track it, and help the US track cyber attacks originating outside the U.S. On the downside it will help cut off the U.S. from the rest of the world and make it difficult for other countries to access U.S. sites."
Some commenters said it's not as bad as it looks.
sielingfan: "Interestingly enough, I read the SOPA bill in its original text (it was linked on Wikipedia), and there's not a whole lot of censorship involved. It's pretty specific about what can be shut down under the law, and it's all intellectual property right, all at the behest of the owner and not the government ... but don't take my word for it, go read the bill for yourself. You know, before midnight I guess."
DSBsky: "That's exactly what they want you to think, like the Patriot Act. Call it one thing, get the bill in the door. Then shoot the bill so full of legal holes that it lets you do anything you want. Next thing you know, they'll be bashing down your door because you clicked onto a site once on accident."
Jalek: "The same lobbyists pushed to get something similar in Russia, and it's been widely reported to have been used to take down political opponent sites, something like the Patriot Act has been used to spy on people not suspected of anything."
sielingfan: "But what it says - what the bill actually says, not what people say about it - is tame and toothless, to everybody in the world who isn't hosting thousands of dollars worth of illegally pirated intellectual property. Seriously. Go read the bill. Quick."
There were a few who said we should be careful legislating issues around the Internet. John Becker of Coral Gables, Florida, submitted a pointed iReport video commentary predicting a "hacker rebellion" from an angered Internet community if SOPA passes. He said he fears unforeseeable repercussions and theorized that any possible gains in content protection would be outweighed by negatives.
"You need to find a better way to stop the piracy because that's not the answer," Becker said. "On the note of piracy, are you telling me that Oprah and Tom Cruise and Kim Kardashian and Beyonce need more money than they already have?"
He works with software and says spam is the bigger battle left to fight.
"If we fight battles according to what is causing the most damage, then yes, spammers are definitely higher-ranking than pirates. My neighbor's kid might be downloading the Smurfs movie and that might not be a good thing, but he isn't sending penis spam out to thousands of computers, overtaking those computers, then using them to hack websites or even disabling those computers and preventing them from being used for what they're intended for."
–See also: Becker's iReport, 'SOPA = DOPA'
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