YouTube has the most to lose, and their reasons for opposition are the same as the other networks: if users commit copyright violations and upload said content to their site, these acts will make YouTube responsible for heavy fines and policing just by being a platform that users break the law through. Currently, the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) protects YouTube, while also holding it responsible to remove copyrighted content once the rights holders have discovered it or flagged it.
YouTube currently has to remove it, but they aren’t responsible for the content just because a user broke the law on their site. However, the passing of SOPA/PIPA would open up the DMCA to remove the clause YouTube and other Social Media sites have enjoyed and fine those platforms for the actions of its users. In other words, YouTube will have committed copyright violations because videos that have been uploaded in violation of copyright laws can be seen through YouTube. This same stipulation will go for all content shared through Facebook, Twitter, most blogging sites and all over the internet. Redditt will be the copyright violator, not the random user ripping off a blogger and sharing their content through Redditt. Where it seems Google and Facebook may have the money it takes to lawyer up and protect themselves from any and all lawsuits that may arise, other Social Media channels like Wikipedia, Redditt and Craigslist could sink under the cost of that protection. They are worried about the onslaught of frivolous lawsuits as a result of the bills.
Essentially, SOPA and PIPA could threaten the open flow of online information. Social Media has proven to be the result of the constant evolution of information gathering and sharing, and these acts are attempting to overcorrect a problem in the opposite direction. Metaphorically, this is like tearing down your house because there are a few insects bothering you that you need to get rid of. Instead of taking the time to develop a highly effective pesticide that doesn’t harm its environment, they’re destroying the entire structure. The literal cost and effort of restructuring the internet to handle these proposed bills is immense, just to deal with a problem that won’t go away despite their laws. Pirates and thieves are the result of society, not the result of an ability to break the law. Just closing the DMCA loophole will not stop piracy; like offspring in Jurassic Park, pirates will find a way.
If you oppose SOPA and PIPA and would like to take action, contact your representatives. Visit Wikipedia to find your representatives and call them. Make sure and share from the links provided to help spread the word. If you would like to take action another way, you can sign on to the DemandProgress.org pledge that will be sent to legislators hearing the case.
Lastly, if you prefer to just share your information and opinion, use your Social networks; this is one of their most powerful functions, and the greatest weapon in the fight of information censorship.