I'm not sure how many of you have heard about SOPA, the stop online piracy act. Now on the surface, this may seem like a good idea but as usual, the devil is in the details, or the wording rather.
I know that as bloggers we think it's important to credit or link back to original sources, credit independent artists, we hate counterfeit items, or people who copy another artist's work. But this bill takes it a step further than copyright infringement.
The SOPA bill states that any website that is even accused of infringement is subject to immediate shut down. What does this mean for you? Not only could your personal blog be shut down on just an accusation but all of blogger could be as well. No more blogs, period. Blogger is held responsible for all user submitted content. Sites like Pinterest? Gone. You tube, Reddit, Grooveshark, Pandora? All gone.
Etsy, Flickr and Vimeo all seem likely to shut down if the bill becomes law, the EFF warned. YouTube is online today because it adheres to precisely the takedown provisions that the bill would alter. According to critics, the bill would ban linking to sites deemed offending, even in search results and on services such as Twitter.
So even the people who follow the rules get punished and the internet is censored for everyone. Search engines like Google would be permitted by law from linking to any site that possibly contains copyright infringements. This would require a host of lawyers, legal experts and programmers to do the impossible. How would they possibly be able to pinpoint the legality of every site on the web?
Center for Democracy and Technology lawyers David Sohn and Andrew McDiarmid, in an article for The Atlantic, wrote, "In addition to domain-name filtering, SOPA would impose an open-ended obligation on Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to prevent access to infringing sites...Preventing access to specific sites would require ISPs to inspect all the Internet traffic of its entire user base—the kind of privacy-invasive monitoring that has come under fire in the context of 'deep packet inspection' for advertising purposes."
This also hurts small and new businesses.
Booz & Company on November 16 released a study finding that almost all of the 200 venture capitalists and angel investors interviewed would stop funding digital media intermediaries if the House bill becomes law. More than 80 percent said they would rather invest in a risky, weak economy with the current laws than a strong economy with the proposed law in effect.
So my call to action is that you write or email your representatives about this bill. This does effect you and things you most likely use and love on a daily basis. There is still an opportunity to stop this. Here is a website to find your state representative and how to contact them. We can make a difference together!
Ok, end of my rant. I promise we will back to pretty things tomorrow. Thank you for taking the time to read this!
All quotes and information is from Wikipedia.