PIPA/SOPA Day of Protest…U.S. Govt Wants to Censor the Internet

PIPA and SOPA legislation…consider it an Internet book burning.

Wikipedia is protesting the potential passing of two Internet anti-piracy bills in Congress, SOPA and PIPA, with a 24 hour blackout today.  Google, Twitter, and other online giants join them in their opposition.

Why?  Because, as pointed out by The Guardian, “the U.S. government is using the same tools to protect copyright that the Chinese government uses to limit free speech”.  Here are just a few of the repercussions pointed out by 1stwebdesigner and the Washington Post

  • Blog sites could be blocked or shut down (without any legal oversight)
  • Crippling burden on intermediary sites like YouTube and Facebook
  • Copyright holders already have the power to take down offending material.
  • Say goodbye to innovation
  • Legal action over a child singing a song
  • U.S. Government hopes they will spark global change (other countries will follow suit)

1stwebdesigner summarizes the bills:

PIPA

PIPA, an acronym for the Protect IP Act…if passed, will give  U.S. corporations and the government the right to seek affirmative legal action with any website that they see as enabling copyright infringement whether of U.S. origin or not. Here is a breakdown of all that they will have the power to do.

  • Force U.S. internet providers to block access to websites deemed as enablers of copyright infringement
  • Seek legal action by suing search engines, blog sites, directories, or any site in general to have the black listed sites removed from their website
  • Will be able to force advertising services on infringing websites, and those supporting of them, to remove them from their advertising accounts
  • Companies will also have the power to sue any new websites that get started after this bill is passed, if they believe that they are not doing a good job of preventing infringement on your website

SOPA

SOPA, an acronym for the Stop Online Piracy Act…if passed, will work in conjunction with PIPA. As described by such entities as the Electronic Frontier Foundation, SOPA is nothing more so than the U.S. government and private corporations black list. Here is a breakdown of the power given to the government and private corporations.

  • The U.S. Attorney General can now seek a court order that would force search engines, advertisers, DNS providers, servers, and payment processors from having any contact with allegedly infringing websites
  • It will allow private corporations to create their own personal hit lists composed of websites they feel are breaking their copyright policies, ironically this doesn’t have any odd feelings of a legal mafia at all. These companies will be able to directly contact a website’s payment processors a notice to cut all off payment involvement with the targeted website. This payment processors and website of question will then have five days to act before it is simply taken down.

Payment processors will have the power to cut off any website they work with, as long as they can provide a strong reason of why they believe this site is violating copyrights

Marketplace further explains why you should care…you can hear their short podcast here.

If these bills pass through Congress, you can say goodbye to the Internet as we know it…and another piece of our liberty.

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