Maybe SOPA is what the Mayans were talking about
In the last couple of weeks, chances are that you've run into SOPA some way or the other. The Stop Online Piracy Act is a widely notorious bill that hammers the freedom of the internet and makes pretty much every website subject to US jurisdiction.
By now you might have already read a couple of articles on SOPA and PIPA; the controversial and now widely notorious bills that hammer the freedom of internet. In this article we will try to investigate how SOPA negate the spirit of e-world.
Introduced just before Halloween by a bipartisan group of 12 members of Congress, SOPA is ostensibly intended to strengthen U.S. law enforcement, better protect copyrighted intellectual property and decrease the traffic in counterfeit products.
SOPA gives intellectual property owners the power to effectively pull the plug on foreign sites against which they have a copyright claim. Perhaps the most galling thing about SOPA in its original construction is that it empowers IP owners to take these actions without a single court appearance or judicial sign-off. One key component of the bill allows the U.S. Department of Justice and copyright owners to petition for court orders that would stop websites charged with facilitating copyright infringement. This is the main reason why almost everyone's up in arms against it.
The official line on SOPA is that it only affects seedy off-shore torrent sites. That's not entirely true. As the big legal brains at Bricoleur point out, the potential collateral damage is huge. And it affects you. Because while Facebook and Twitter have the financial wherewithal to stave off anti-circumvention shut down notices, the smaller sites you use to store your photos, your videos, and your thoughts may not. If the government decides any part of that site infringes on copyright and proves it in court? Your digital life is gone, and you can't get it back.Opponents - which include Google, Yahoo!, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, AOL, LinkedIn, eBay, Mozilla Corporation, Roblox, Riot Games, and Epic Games the developer of the Gears of War, Reddit, Wikipedia and the Wikimedia Foundation - contend that such a sweeping law might threaten the entire e-commerce industry. The Internet is a completely un-biased and truly democratic technology and has provided an opportunity to every individual who uses it to properly use their freedom of expression no matter where they are. Under this bill, the Internet will fall pray in hands of a central power that can, and already has, without any reason ban any website, even before genuine investigation.
The momentum behind the anti-SOPA movement has been slow to build, but we're finally at a saturation point. Wikipedia, BoingBoing, WordPress, TwitPic: they turned their pages dark on January 18. An anti-SOPA rally has taken place in New York. The list of companies supporting SOPA is long but shrinking, thanks in no small part to the emails and phone calls they've received in the last few months.
Opponents of the bill have proposed the Online Protection and Enforcement of Digital Trade Act (OPEN) as an alternative. On January 20, 2012, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Smith postponed plans to draft the bill.