As we expressed in our previous blog post, the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the Protect IP Act (PIPA) are pieces of legislation that would have damaging effects on the Internet as well as free speech. Although we agree that more must be done to protect intellectual property on the web, these bills are not the most effective way to achieve that goal.
Here’s 4 reasons why SOPA & PIPA are bad news:
Government Control and Censorship
One of the biggest issues with both PIPA and SOPA is the broad language used in the bills to define piracy. SOPA, for example, would broaden the definition of copyright infringement to an extreme.
Example- if a musician’s website, or a discussion group about music, gets a lone post that contains a link that leads you to a site that has been found in violation of copyrighted material, that site or group faces the same consequences as the person who initially violated the copyright. Also, no proof or due process would be required. That’s very scary.
PIPA and SOPA would give the government a great deal of control over the Internet, following precedents that have been established in China, Cuba and North Korea. This is especially strange, since America is a country that prides itself on freedom of speech- and didn’t the US government criticize China’s suppression of the Internet less than 2 years ago?
Learn more here.
A Barrier To Innovation
The increased regulations would expose businesses to open-ended liability, which would damage the growth potential of web-based companies, especially ones that feature primarily user-generated content (Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Flickr).
With all the potential for legal snafus, investors and VC’s would certainly think twice before putting up money for innovators and entrepreneurs who may have game-changing business ideas for the future of the web. Creating such a barrier to innovation and job creation would be most detrimental for the US at this time, as unemployment and poverty continue to be growing concerns throughout the nation. Learn more here.
It Doesn’t Solve The Piracy Problem
While these bills overstep their boundaries in regards to free speech, they seem to be remarkably ineffective in actually stopping piracy from happening. Although SOPA makes it possible to block domain names that infringe on copyrights in some way, it doesn’t block numeric IP addresses- so you could still access the offending site if you knew the IP address.
How does that help stop piracy? How would a company like Facebook be able to gather the resources to effectively troll through their 800 million users to find copyright offenders, who could create another illegal site in the blink of an eye?
If these bills were to pass, the rampant blocking and blacklisting of sites and content would prove harmful to the Internet’s infrastructure, and compromise the security of users. It would order US providers of DNS servers to block users from reaching specific websites. It would stifle the ongoing efforts to improve online security, making users potentially more vulnerable to identity theft and a host of other security issues. Take a look at this article about the potentially damaging effects the Protect IP Act would have on the DNS.
As we’ve said before, we vehemently oppose SOPA and PIPA, and encourage you to research both bills. If you agree that they are an ineffective solution, please click here to contact your representative to express your discontent with this poor piece of legislation.
Click here to see a list of who supports SOPA.
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