Explaining SOPA With Football



Explaining SOPA Using Football

(Editors Note: Two SOPA articles in two days? Yeah, it's that important. And we added some funny Tweets to the end of the article. Bonus!)

In case you live under a rock and haven’t been online recently, you probably have noticed that Google and Wikipedia blacked out in protest of SOPA and PIPA, two pieces of legislation that have everyone and their can’t-find-the-mouse mother freaking out and thinking the whole internet is going to explode. Coincidentally, I’ve been studying SOPA for the past two weeks, so I’m going to try to break it down as Bro Council-friendly as I can...by throwing in some football analogies.

At its most basic, the way we use the internet is sort of like a gigantic roster for say, a football team. Every player is assigned a number the same way every website is assigned a URL because it's more efficient than an IP address. There is a string of numbers that would get you to the Bro Council website (, but BroCouncil.com is much catchier and easier to remember.

In the same way assigning a player jersey number 11 is going to be much more efficient than writing their full names on every jersey, hat, cleat and glove they’ll ever own is more efficient and make their stuff easier to find when its tossed in with every other player’s stuff in a big football van (or world wide web.)

So, what SOPA and PIPA are proposing to do is relatively simple, they want to stop illegal piracy on websites; which is a pretty noble goal. The heart of the problem is this: rogue websites, for the most part in Russia and similar countries, have been stealing TV shows and movies from US sites and making money from them online. Since they’re overseas, US laws can’t do much here to stop them. So, what SOPA and PIPA was proposing to do is to shut down the US servers here that support those rogue sites by removing the American sites that host them.

The problem arises in the URL of websites. If, for example, there was something pirated at BroCouncil.com/ThingsWePirate, SOPA and PIPA would potentially remove the URL of all of BroCouncil.com, not just the subsection of the website that contained pirated information. Our IP address would still exist, but our URL would vanish.

To bring it back to football, it would be like if one member of say, the New York Jets, were arrested for carrying a loaded gun in their sweatpants and his number were removed from the roster, and suddenly every player’s names, numbers and equipment were removed from all of everyone’s equipment. Everything on that football van (my imaginary team is clearly my high school’s crappy 0-10 team that couldn’t even convince people to be cheerleaders) would become a jumbled mash. It’s not that entire team would disappear, it would just become impossible to sort out.

But, never fear, SOPA and PIPA or not, we’ll still be here. And if Russian pirates want to steal our stuff and sell it in Russia, we’re probably pretty cool with that idea too ( we’re not really making any money anyway.) But to lighten the mood while everyone’s freaking out, here are six funny Tweets about SOPA:

Six Funny Tweets about SOPA

  1. @DannyMaxwell: If Wikipedia is gone forever I'm dropping Research writing.
  2. @jasonroeder: Now who's the weirdo for carrying around the 1983 World Book encyclopedia in saddlebags strapped to his thighs?
  3. @BTMcLaughlin: I thought Wikipedia's way of punishing us was making us look at their staff.
  4. @pattooters: I would've been glad if SOPA/PIPA was for blocking Beiber issues.
  5. @Do312: ███████ everything ███████████████████████ is ██████████████████████████████████████████ fine ██████████████."#SOPA"
  6. @iamledgin: I'm so mad about SOPA. Also, what is SOPA?
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About The Author
Kristin Kipke
Kristin Kipke
Kristin is a law school graduate, former college swimmer, and in a past job, worked on the launch of KFC's Double Down. You're welcome, America.