Should HR Care About SOPA?


The Stop Online Piracy Act (or SOPA, as it has come to be known) is about to cause you some problems, whether you or for or against it.  Even if you don’t know what it is.

In short, SOPA is all about holding people accountable for the content of their site.  There’s more to it, of course, but rather than try to explain it, I’ll let The Guardian take up the task.

Got that?  It’s all about the Benjamins, of course.  But this is a battle between lawmakers and pirates, right?  It may not be as much fun as ninjas and pirates, but it’s still a good show.  And not one we are likely to join.

But should we?  Should HR care about this?  How is it going to affect our lives?

Um….well, first there’s all those shiny new social media tools.  Like those?  Like your Facebooks?  Your Twitters?  Your Google+s?  (Just kidding.  I know you aren’t using Google+.)  Plus that social media savvy recruiter you added to the team.  They won’t be real useful.  Um…and…hmm.  Yeah.  That’s about it.

So, no.  SOPA probably won’t do a whole lot to the HR community.  Let’s face it, we don’t have a lot on the line here.  I mean, sure, you might have an employee picked up by the Federales and have to replace them, but that goes on all the time.  So no reason to get involved.  Nothing to see here.  Move along.

I said, move along.

Oh, wait.  Are you one of those “progressive” HR types that talks about wanting to understand business, not just HR?  Looking to have something pithy to say at the next Operations meeting?  Then pay attention to this.  It is important.

SOPA is poorly understood and poorly covered.  But it’s about to get interesting.  On January 18th, sites like Reddit, Tucows and Wikipedia are planning to go dark for the day in protest.  It’s about bringing visibility to an important issue and igniting conversation. It is your chance to get in front of an issue before it is the topic of the day.  That’s not a place HR gets to be very often.  Take advantage of it.  Here’s some things you can read to get started…

Mashable: Stop Online Piracy Act Roundup

Wikipedia’s SOPA entry

Lifehacker’s SOPA review


Everyone has an angle to sell here, so don’t take everything you read as gospel.  Do some exploring.  Be curious.

I won’t tell you how you should feel about it, but I will tell you that you should have an opinion.  I have one, but I’ll keep it to myself for now.  If you know enough to have one, please feel free to share it.


  1. […] won’t directly affect most HR professionals, but it might affect the company you work for, so you should probably care a little.  Most likely this is a hot topic for your tech talent; don’t give them a reason to start […]

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