The Stop Online Piracy Act, also known as SOPA, is a 2011 bill submitted by Lamar Smith to the U.S. House of Representatives. It proposes giving the Department of Justice and copyright holders more power to fight internet piracy. However, the bill has been widely criticized, due to its potential to cripple the internet.
SOPA would grant the U.S. government and copyright holders the ability to block access to websites that may contain or link to stolen materials. It would also allow for websites to be removed from search engine results.
Critics have accused SOPA of being easily abused, so that any website with user created content would be put at risk. For example, posting a video on YouTube featuring a licensed song in the background would give authorities the right to shut YouTube down. If another website had a link to this video, it would also be within the copyright holder's rights to shut them down. This would lead to the decline and demise of websites that rely on user-made content, such as wikis, Facebook, YouTube, and Newgrounds. It has also been argued that the piracy this law is meant to prevent would barely be affected, as it would still be possible to simply type in the URLs of sites that offer stolen material.
Reaction on Newgrounds Edit
On December 20, 2011, Tom Fulp publicly denounced SOPA on a news post. In his words, SOPA is "GOVERNMENT CENSORSHIP OF THE INTERNET. It undermines the security of the Internet and gives comfort to totalitarian regimes already doing the same thing."  A few weeks later, he released a story about the MPAA trying to shut down Newgrounds due to a misunderstanding, saying that the same organization was supporting SOPA.In response to SOPA, Newgrounds joined an internet-wide strike on January 18, 2012, from 8 AM to 8 PM by replacing the main page with a black screen with an explanation of the events surrounding the bill. This was in collaboration with many other websites, including Wikipedia and reddit. Other sites, such as Google, publicly denounced the bill on their front page, but did not shut down their sites.
Many members of Newgrounds also protested SOPA. A variety of games and movies have been submitted that parody or lash out against the bill. One, S.O.P.A. got fingered, won the Daily Feature during the day of the strike, and also got Newgrounds Medals. Others, like Sopanoid and Super SOPA Bros. got featured on the front page.