SOPA Debated: What Role Should the Government Play in Regulating Online Piracy?

On Wednesday, major sites like Wikipedia, Reddit, and Boingboing are going black in protest of the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and Protect Intellectual Property Act being debated by Congress.

SOPA's supporters in the House of Representatives say the legislation is designed to stop revenue flowing to "rogue websites." The two bills have been presented as a way to protect movie studios, record labels, and others. Supporters range from the Country Music Association to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

But, Wikipedia says that the bill "would be devastating to the free and open web." "All around the world, we're seeing the development of legislation intended to fight online piracy, and regulate the internet in other ways, that hurt online freedoms," Wikipedia said.

Here's a primer video from opponents of the bill explaining what's at stake:


Weigh in: Should the government play a role in regulating the Internet? Are SOPA and PIPA the right ways to combat online piracy? If not, what would be a better solution?

Photo Credit: Ryan Tir