For many Grand Valley State University students, Wednesday’s blackout on popular websites Wikipedia and Craigslist may have been their first time hearing about the Stop Internet Piracy Act, but although a vote on the law has been tabled in Congress, this bill is still one to keep an eye on.

SOPA, drafted by U.S. Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas), and its U.S. Senate counterpart, the Protect IP Act, would expand law enforcement’s authority to fight online trafficking of copyrighted material, but they also give the government the ability to block entire online domains and threatens Americans’ constitutional right to free speech. For example, if one blog powered through a blogging tool like WordPress or Blogger posted a link to unauthorized copyrighted material, the entire parent site could be shut down. The same is true for social networking websites such as Facebook and Twitter. Although a scheduled vote on SOPA/PIPA was postponed due to public protests — an estimated 7,000 websites including Google, Craigslist, Wikipedia, Reddit, Tumblr and more blacked out on Wednesday or otherwise advocated against the bill’s passage — the dangerous bill is far from dead.

While no one is arguing the legality of Internet piracy or suggesting that the government’s past attempts at policing piracy have been effective, handing the government the unilateral power to shut down entire Internet domains because of one person’s online actions is akin to forcing every GVSU student to write their papers under careful supervision because a handful of people choose to cheat. Not only will those who choose to stream, upload or link to unauthorized content (or unknowingly use it) continue to find ways to do so, the massive power the bill yields to the government will strip citizens of their prized free speech rights.

Everyone from tech junkies to the technologically challenged have a stake in SOPA’s consequences and should continue to make their voices heard. And it’s already working. Following the blackout, 13 senators who previously supported the bill backed out, until eventually Smith postponed both SOPA and PIPA. And all it took was a little bit of our generation doing what we do best — using the internet to complain — and they can’t take that away from us.