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SOPA is the “STOP ONLINE PIRACY ACT” written by Representative Lamar Smith.

We already have legislation that makes digital piracy a crime. The 1998 Digital Millennium Copyright Act lays out enforcement measures. The problem is enforcement. Representative Smith doesn’t like the current effectiveness of the law, or at least the folks who are backing him don’t.

So SOPA takes it to the next level.  The real trouble seems to be overseas. And they are hard to move on. So if you can’t force sites in other countries to take down copyrighted work, the idea behind SOPA is that you can at least stop U.S. companies from providing their services to those sites. You can also make it harder for U.S. Internet users to find and access the sites by removing their information from the DNS (it’s like a giant phonebook for the internet, and is the primary resource for most search engines).

SOPA is far more “toothsome” than DMCA and potentially puts site operators — even those based in the U.S. — on the hook for content that their users upload. The proposed bill’s text says that a site could be deemed a SOPA violator, and is thus culpable if it “facilitates” copyright infringement.

Too many sites are open source for this to work. The internet isn’t “managed” by the owners of the various websites. Individual users are the violators, even though the websites are the “crime scene.” It’s like arresting the hotel manager for the murder that was committed by one of her guests in one of the hotel’s rooms.

Confused? Watch this video from Fight for the Future:

Read more here today:

http://www.reddit.com/ (January 18)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:SOPA_initiative/Learn_more (January 18)

http://money.cnn.com/2012/01/17/technology/sopa_explained/index.htm

Watch this excellent video over at Vimeo: http://vimeo.com/31100268 

What You Can Do

Freedom isn’t free. It’s going to take some action. Granted, you aren’t being asked “Take your powder, and take your gun. Report to General Washington.” But you are being asked to pick you your phone. Write an email.

Get to the bottom of this
before the internet becomes
regulated by those with money
instead of those with a free voice.

 

Author: Joey Reed

Joey is married to his best friend. Together, they have two children and live in Jackson, Tennessee. Joey serves Grace United Methodist Church, the Jackson District, the Memphis Annual Conference, and the world is his parish.