The Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), also known as H.R.3261, is a bill that was introduced in the United States House of Representatives on October 26, 2011, by Representative Lamar Smith (R-TX) and a bipartisan group of 12 initial co-sponsors. The bill expands the ability of U.S. law enforcement and copyright holders to fight online trafficking in copyrighted intellectual property and counterfeit goods. Now before the House Judiciary Committee, it builds on the similar PRO-IP Act of 2008 and the corresponding Senate bill, the Protect IP Act.
The bill would allow the U.S. Department of Justice, as well as copyright holders, to seek court orders against websites accused of enabling or facilitating copyright infringement. Depending on who requests the court orders, the actions could include barring online advertising networks and payment facilitators such as PayPal from doing business with the infringing website, barring search engines from linking to such sites, and requiring Internet service providers to block access to such sites. The bill would make unauthorized streaming of copyrighted content a felony. The bill also gives immunity to Internet services that voluntarily take action against websites dedicated to infringement, while making liable for damages any copyright holder who knowingly misrepresents that a website is dedicated to infringement.
Proponents of the bill say it protects the intellectual property market and corresponding industry, jobs and revenue, and is necessary to bolster enforcement of copyright laws especially against foreign websites. Opponents say it infringes on First Amendment rights, is Internet censorship, that it will cripple the Internet, and will threaten whistle-blowing and other free speech.
The House Judiciary Committee held hearings on SOPA on November 16 and December 15, 2011. A vote is presently scheduled for Wednesday, December 21.
I'm giving this letter a test run to see what others think of me sending it to a Senator for New York. Dear Senator, I guess it would be redundant to ask for the release of the monetary figures it took to get this bill a foothold in Congress. Exchanges for bills like that tend to happen only under the table. Perhaps that's part of SOPA's appeal - stopping The Smoking Gun from blowing the lid off ny more Congressional scandals which the public should … more
Though SOPA has been scuttled and probably consigned to abandonment, public vigilance is essential to ensure that subsequent bills of its ilk aren't passed. Prospectively, ACTA is far more egregious by virtue of its international support and implications, and numerous significant developing nations haven't been consulted in regard to its development. Legislation of this sort is merely corporate avarice manifest, and neither the lawyers who draft these bills nor the politicians paid to enact … more
It's hard to believe that someone thought that this was a good idea and that enough people rallied behind him that it actually became something real that people have to vote on. I get the feeling that the people behind this bill probably don't know much about the internet aside from the occasional horrible news story about downloadings and Craigslist scandals. Furthermore, it's not a stretch to say that a lot of the corporations rallying behind it are only thinking about the monetary … more