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