We recently posted a Teaching With Current Events resource on proposed SOPA and Protect-ID legislation. These proposed pieces of national legislation, which have implications for freedom of speech and private property, have continued to dominate headlines. As David A. Fahrenthold of the Washington Post wrote today, “This is what happens when you make the Internet mad.” Websites as varied and popular as Wikipedia, Reddit, and I Can Haz Cheezburger have shut down their sites for the day in protest of the proposed law, which they argue amounts to government censorship in the name of security.

From the Post piece:

“ the House’s Stop Online Piracy Act and the Senate’s Protect IP (intellectual property) Act…are meant to attack the problem of foreign Web sites that sell pirated or counterfeit goods. They would impose restrictions forcing U.S. companies to stop selling online ads to suspected pirates, processing payments for illegal online sales and refusing to list Web sites suspected of piracy in search-engine results.

The idea is to cut off the channels that deliver American customers, and their money, to potential pirates. But tech companies see the laws as a dangerous overreach, objecting because, they say, the laws would add burdensome costs and new rules that would destroy the freewheeling soul of the Internet.”

How do you and your students respond? Regardless of how they feel about the wisdom or constitutionality of SOPA and Protect IP legislation, how do today’s protest reveal ways citizens can express views to lawmakers and participate in self government?

Remember you can always check our Teaching with Current Events Resources for daily, updated news stories related to the Constitution and Bill of Rights.

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