Wednesday, January 18, 2012

On the SOPAbox

Some of you may have heard of SOPA, the Stop Piracy Online Act, and PIPA, the Project IP Act, controversial anti-piracy bills. If you want to learn more about these bills, you can check out some articles here and here.

I'm all for protecting the rights of content creators--I'm one of them--but the language of these bills is murky when it comes to defining pirate sites. To quote from the CNN article, "A site could be deemed a SOPA scofflaw if it takes 'deliberate actions to avoid confirming a high probability' that its service will be used for copyright infringement." SOPA was originally written to require that sites with pirated content have their domains blocked. My understanding is that this language was removed from SOPA but is still present in PIPA, and PIPA is farther along in the legislative process than SOPA. Wikipedia is supposed to go dark today in protest of these bills, as are several of the blogs I follow. (I learned about this protest here.)

I'm not going dark because I believe it's better to light a single candle than to curse the darkness. If you want to protest this bill, support Wikipedia with a donation or go here. The link will give you other ways to counter this bill, including contacting your elected representatives and senators.

How do you feel about SOPA/PIPA? Too much, or a needed counter to piracy?


Cherie Reich said...

I agree there needs to be some type of law against piracy and such, but I think the SOPA/PIPA laws could take it too far (Big Brother style).

I'm not going dark either. I understand why some people might, but I think this is what we're fighting against (not going dark), so why do what those bills can/will do?

Sandra Ulbrich Almazan said...

Cherie, I think sites are going dark as a warning of what the Internet will look like if these bills pass--full of dark spots. While going dark may draw attention to the cause, it doesn't seem like the most effective way to fight the bills either. There's another anti-piracy bill, OPEN, that's supposed to strike a better balance between protecting copyrights and balancing the freedom of the Internet. I need to learn more about it.

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