Saturday, January 21, 2012

Editorial Article: SOPA!

The Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) is[was] a United States bill proposed by U.S. Republican Representative to expand the ability of U.S. law enforcement to fight online trafficking in copyrighted intellectual property and counterfeit goods. The provisions would include the requesting of court-orders to bar advertising networks and payment facilities from conducting business with infringing websites, and search engines from linking to the sites, and court orders requiring Internet Service Providers to block access to the sites. The law would expand existing criminal law to include streaming of copyright material, imposing a maximum penalty of five years in prison.

However, if this bill had been passed it would have threatened our freedom of speech, innovation and enabled law enforcement to block access to entire internet domains due to infringing material posted on a single blog or webpage. It would have threatened popular websites like Facebook;which allows for interaction between family and friends and uniting society, Twitter; which advocates freedom of speech, and Youtube; which allows for educational information to be shared along with acting as a hub for "aspiring artists."

The original proposed bill would have allowed the U.S. Department of Justice, as well as copyright holders, to seek court dates against websites outside U.S. jurisdiction accused of enabling or facilitating copyright infringement.

These bills, both PIPA and SOPA are dangerous, ineffective and short-sighted. They threatened freedom of speech and innovation.On January 20th, two days after the huge web blackout protests, and a few other protests from the public, Congress postponed the PIPA and SOPA bills 'indefinitely.' Clearly, Congress shared similar views and opinions as expressed above.

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