What is SOPA? Why should I care?

For those of you who haven’t heard the news, Wikipedia and a host of other websites are protesting SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act) today. It’s a very controversial bill, backed by the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), and the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA).

SOPA

Put simply, this is an anti-piracy bill that allows intellectual property owners the ability to shut down a foreign website based on a copyright claim. While laws already exist (The Digital Millenium Copyright Act), this bill goes further..

The difference is that these intellectual property owners can request that the infringing website be removed by simply creating a “blacklist.” For example, if I posted a link on Facebook to a website that was on this blacklist, Facebook would be forced to remove it.

In the case of Wikipedia, if they accidentally linked to a website on this blacklist, then they might be forced to shut down the entire website. In addition, content providers (Youtube) or payment processors (Paypal) would be forced to remove content without a single court appearance or judicial sign-off. This is all based on “good faith.”

Piracy is wrong, and should be stopped, but should the internet be changed because it doesn’t fit your business model? The music/film industry has changed dramatically over the last decade, and sites like Spotify and Netflix are offering legal content to consumers, and are very successful at it!

If you are interested in opposing the bill, don’t post a link to this article on Facebook or Twitter, but instead contact the people who represent us in Washington. 

Give them a call:

Mike Michaud: 202-225-6306

Susan Collins: 202-224-2523

Olympia Snowe: 202-224-5344

Sign the Google petition as well!