Freedom of speech, no matter where it occurs, is the right of every American and is guaranteed by the Constitution…….. As is the right to disagree with the speaker. If SOPA, Stop Online Piracy Act, goes though the way it is currently written, freedom of speech on the internet, and quite possibly elsewhere, will become a myth. And, yes, I’ve read the official summary of the bill which I have included below.
Virtually every site from YouTube to aol will be affected by this. Officially, it’s to stop piracy. I can understand that since there are many websites that fit the guidelines, but the bill goes further than that, and will affect the innocent as well as the guilty.
Google has now joined Wikipedia, and numerous others, in the fight against SOPA. On Wednesday, 7,000 websites will go dark in protest of this latest attack against one part of freedom of speech. Google won’t, but WILL post a solidarity message on its website in support of the darkened websites. WordPress is one of the 7,000 and will be dark from midnight tonight until Thursday.
What the bill makers don’t seem to recognize, but most companies, web designers, tech companies, and other web “professionals” do recognize, is that this bill threatens the basic function and security of the internet as well as the users right to access information.
Currently, the domain name system provides an unbroken link between a domain name and the person accessing it. SOPA will require ISP’s to redirected domain names that seem suspicious and that breaks the secure link between the domain name and the user. (http://news.cnet.com/8301-31921_3-57329001-281/how-sopa-would-affect-you-faq/) Think this might cause a security breach for hackers to have fun with??? Bet on it.
Below I’ve included the shorter, more concise, opencongress.org summary as well as the official summary from the House Judiciary Committee (http://judiciary.house.gov/)
OpenCongress Summary ( http://www.opencongress.org/bill/112-h3261/show)
“This bill would establish a system for taking down websites that the Justice Department determines to be dedicated to copyright infringement. The DoJ or the copyright owner would be able to commence a legal action against any site they deem to have “only limited purpose or use other than infringement,” and the DoJ would be allowed to demand that search engines, social networking sites and domain name services block access to the targeted site. It would also make unauthorized web streaming of copyrighted content a felony with a possible penalty up to five years in prison. This bill combines two separate Senate bills — S.968 and S.978 — into one big House bill. ”
Here is the “official summary” of the Stop Online Piracy Act from the House Judiciary Committee.
Official Summary (http://judiciary.house.gov/)
“10/26/2011–Introduced.Stop Online Piracy Act – Authorizes the Attorney General (AG) to seek a court order against a U.S.-directed foreign Internet site committing or facilitating online piracy to require the owner, operator, or domain name registrant, or the site or domain name itself if such persons are unable to be found, to cease and desist further activities constituting specified intellectual property offenses under the federal criminal code including criminal copyright infringement, unauthorized fixation and trafficking of sound recordings or videos of live musical performances, the recording of exhibited motion pictures, or trafficking in counterfeit labels, goods, or services. Sets forth an additional two-step process that allows an intellectual property right holder harmed by a U.S.-directed site dedicated to infringement, or a site promoted or used for infringement under certain circumstances, to first provide a written notification identifying the site to related payment network providers and Internet advertising services requiring such entities to forward the notification and suspend their services to such an identified site unless the site’s owner, operator, or domain name registrant, upon receiving the forwarded notification, provides a counter notification explaining that it is not dedicated to engaging in specified violations. Authorizes the right holder to then commence an action for limited injunctive relief against the owner, operator, or domain name registrant, or against the site or domain name itself if such persons are unable to be found, if:
(1) such a counter notification is provided (and, if it is a foreign site, includes consent to U.S. jurisdiction to adjudicate whether the site is dedicated to such violations), or
(2) a payment network provider or Internet advertising service fails to suspend its services in the absence of such a counter notification. Requires online service providers, Internet search engines, payment network providers, and Internet advertising services, upon receiving a copy of a court order relating to an AG action, to carry out certain preventative measures including withholding services from an infringing site or preventing users located in the United States from accessing the infringing site. Requires payment network providers and Internet advertising services, upon receiving a copy of such an order relating to a right holder’s action, to carry out similar preventative measures. Provides immunity from liability for service providers, payment network providers, Internet advertising services, advertisers, Internet search engines, domain name registries, or domain name registrars that take actions required by this Act or otherwise voluntarily block access to or end financial affiliation with such sites. Permits such entities to stop or refuse services to certain sites that endanger public health by distributing prescription medication that is adulterated, misbranded, or without a valid prescription. Expands the offense of criminal copyright infringement to include public performances of:
(1) copyrighted work by digital transmission, and
(2) work intended for commercial dissemination by making it available on a computer network. Expands the criminal offenses of trafficking in inherently dangerous goods or services to include:
(1) counterfeit drugs; and
(2) goods or services falsely identified as meeting military standards or intended for use in a national security, law enforcement, or critical infrastructure application. Increases the penalties for:
(1) specified trade secret offenses intended to benefit a foreign government, instrumentality, or agent; and
(2) various other intellectual property offenses as amended by this Act. Directs the U.S. Sentencing Commission to review, and if appropriate, amend related Federal Sentencing Guidelines. Requires the Secretary of State and Secretary of Commerce to appoint at least one intellectual property attache to be assigned to the U.S. embassy or diplomatic mission in a country in each geographic region covered by a Department of State regional bureau. ”
It’s a frightening thing to be happening in this country. And one that I never expected to happen where freedom was born.