…initially put on hold: too much resistance to the bill

Even if it is often told that you should regularly read newspaper and watch news, you probably got wind of this matter while surfing through the web. It concerns the controversial US draft law SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act), which was submitted some time ago by the Republican Lamar S. Smith.
This law would potentially allow the American legal system to delete or disable websites that fiddles with copyright law content in any way. This sounds positive for the industry in the first case. But you wouldn’t be able to post any video that contains protected music, even if it’s in the background, for example on Youtube. Because of the strong restriction of freedom of the user in the web and because of the unduly claim to judge foreign websites, several online firms, Bloggers and so on make a stand against this bill.

What happened?

On Wednesday, the 18th of January, Wikipedia, Google, Mozilla, Facebook, Twitter, AOL, Greenpeace and many more protested against SOPA and “Blacked-Out” their sites as well as they started petitions. Because they fear the American draft law could reach Europe, Germans and other Europeans were participating in the protest.
Many American Internet users were probably highly surprised when they tried to research Wikipedia for some random facts. Instead of millions of articles they could just see the catchy phrase “Imaging a World Without Free Knowledge” on a darkened site.

Freedom in danger?

It was the biggest possible protestation that Wikipedia could have done. The English speaking online encyclopedia was shut down for about 24 hours. To obtain the freedom of information, Wikipedia removed all that content from the web.

Other reactions

According to www.marketingland.com, many prominent founders of huge tech companies, for example Google co-founder Sergey Brin, Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey, Netscape co-founder Marc Andreessen, PayPal founder Elon Musk and several others, posted an Open Letter To Washington expressing their concerns about the legislation. From the letter:

“These two pieces of legislation threaten to:

  • Require web services, like the ones we helped found, to monitor what users link to, or upload. This would have a chilling effect on innovation;

  • Deny website owners the right to due process of law;

  • Give the U.S. Government the power to censor the web using techniques similar to those used by China, Malaysia and Iran; and

  • Undermine security online by changing the basic structure of    the Internet.”

What is this all about?

The US House Of Representatives is currently negotiating about a two new draft laws called SOPA and PIPA. These laws would intervene deeply into online events.
The record industry as well as movie industry claimed an implementation of tight measures against websites that allow access to licensed media. Therefore, the US Parliament responded to that request with the release of the draft law “Stop Online Piracy Act” (SOPA) submitted by Lamar S. Smith.

Potentially arbitrariness?

To stop the unlicensed and therefore unpaid distribution of digital content, the bill intends to lock websites. Providers should be forced to deny the access of their customers to visit certain pages.
If a website gets classified as as illegal, no one will be able to do business with the company concerned: payment providers, advertising services or even search engines. Whoever comes to close to websites, branded as illegal, could be hold accountable.

More information about SOPA:

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  1. Pingback: Lobbyism and SOPA | Toolfools

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