How does the Stop Online Piracy Act and the associated Protect-IP Act kill the Internet? With DNS blacklisting, Internet filtering and jail time for users and website owners deemed to infringe on copyright.
"The worst bill in Internet history" is in front of the US Congress currently. If it goes through, it will affect Internet users everywhere and not just in the US.
Wil Wheaton says on Google+ "If SOPA passes, it will destroy the Internet. That's not hyperbole, that's a simple fact." In March this year, Paul Vixie, the primary author and architect of the BIND Domain Name Server called COICA, or US Senate Bill S.3804 as introduced by Senator Patrick Leahy and which mandated DNS blocking to protect Intellectual Property Rights ". at best a weak proposal and at worst an incredibly dangerous idea."
Unfortunately, while COICA petered out in the Senate thanks to the efforts of Senator Ron Wyden, it didn't go away. COICA was rewritten as the Protect IP Act or US Senate Bill S.968, again sponsored by Leahy.
Protect IP also focuses on using DNS blocking, and "enhancing enforcement against rogue website operated and registered overseas." This would require search engines and ISPs to stop linking to such sites, and quickly remove or disable access to them. The problem here is that what constitutes a rogue site isn't specific; furthermore, if a site hosts one piece of infringing material access to that and everything else will be removed - no matter that the rest doesn't infringe on copyright.
It's the Internet equivalent of nuking your car for parking in the wrong space, basically.
SOPA was introduced in the US House of Representatives by Republican Lamar Smith and twelve bi-partisan co-sponsors, and contains some hair-raisingly draconian provisions. Unauthorised streaming would be an imprisonable crime and the DMCA safe harbour provisions for social websites like YouTube, Tumblr and Facebook would disappear. They'd be responsible for users posting material that infringes on copyright.
As with Protect IP, SOPA introduces DNS blocking against overseas sites, search engine purging, and more.
Both are staggeringly bad ideas that would give large corporations powerful weapons against competitors and critics.
The Public Knowledge, Electronic Frontier Foundation, Free Software Foundation, Mozilla, Demand Progress, Fight For the Future, PPF, Creative Commons and Wikimedia organisations have put together the below infographic explaining the ramifications of SOPA, and why the bill must be stopped.
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