By now, most people have probably heard about the planned blackouts for sites like Wikipedia and Reddit. If you go to these sites today, you'll see messages explaining why they have blocked access to their sites today.
While this might seem like an extreme measure, keep in mind that this is likely what would happen to the internet of the SOPA and PIPA bills pass. These bills would force many sites to shut down because of posted content that is considered copyrighted. The internet has always been the most freeform network for information because it was not controlled by any one person or even any group. It was organically engineered by people like me who simply went out there and started something. That is the glory of the internet, and it is a disastrous plan to limit that freedom for the express purpose of giving private businesses and wealthy people more power and control over our media.
In many ways, the SOPA and PIPA bills are simply par for the course when you look at the other things we have given up "for our own good". Consider this list, which outlines some of the more notorious rights violations that we have put up with now for some time. This kind of thing happens all the time, but we as Americans don't seem to be able to stay angry and outspoken long enough for there to be much impact. We have collectively forgotten the Patriot Act, and we hear next to nothing on the indefinite detention of American citizens anymore. Our media is steering us away from these controversial decisions, and now we are seeing that control of information being applied to the internet.