What Is SOPA?

Why is SOPA Going To Destroy The Internet?
In an effort to combat online piracy, new legislation is being introduced in the U.S. Congress that will ultimately stifle future innovation and effectively lead to censorship of the Internet. The most recent bill introduced this October is called SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act) and it seeks to increase the powers available to fight piracy. Although we believe that intellectual property should be protected, this specific bill is misguided and will ultimately have little to no effect on stopping piracy at a severe cost to Internet freedom.

SOPA would grant the U.S. government the ability to block almost any website on the Internet if the site is perceived to be an “infringing site.” Search engines would be required to remove the site from their search listings and payment processors and advertisement networks would be forbidden from doing business with the site. The bill provides little detail about what would constitute an infringing site, which makes the potential for abuse far greater. We have already seen how these kind of systems can be abused. In 2010, ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) mistakenly seized a domain name belonging to a music blog and labeled it as a “rogue site” — the domain name was not returned until a year later (source: http://nyti.ms/uF73mZ).

As any online business owner knows, the loss of their domain name is the loss of their online brand. Pirates will simply relocate their website to a domain outside the control of the United States, but a legitimate business would not survive being mistakenly added to this blacklist. This bill also calls into question the legality of many websites that exist today which are based largely around user-generated content.

You can help stop this legislation! Please take a moment to call your representative in Congress to let them know how you feel about the Internet and how SOPA threatens the future of the Internet. You can find contact information for your specific representatives here: http://www.contactingthecongress.org

Thanks to Site5 for the text.

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