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(Credit: Daniel Terdiman/CNET) In a move the technology sector will surely see as a victory, a controversial antipiracy bill being debated in Congress will no longer include a provision that would require Internet service providers to block access to overseas Web sites accused of piracy. Rep. Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas), one of the biggest backers of the Stop Online Piracy Act, today said he plans to remove the Domain Name System requirements from the Stop Online Piracy Act .
If you spend a lot of time using the internet as a source for media, whether it is news, sports, music, movies, blogs, or any of the thousands of forms of information now available, then you have likely run into the discussion about the SOPA. In today’s blog post we will discuss what it is and how it can effect regular users like you. Here’s how Wikipedia explains the bill: The originally proposed bill would allow the U.S. Department of Justice, as well as copyright holders, to seek court orders against websites accused of enabling or facilitating copyright infringement.
If you own or operate a small business you need to know about SOPA. You need to understand how it can affect your business and what you can do should you agree with many citizens of the web that it is bad legislation. The “Stop Online Piracy Act”[ 1 ] is a bad piece of legislation and it is up to all of us to let Congress know we won’t stand for it. This article gives a non-partisan, non-technical, business oriented look at the major problems with the bill.
Several tech companies and online communities have come out against the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), a recently proposed piece of legislation that many feel will bring unnecessary censorship to the web. But much less attention has been given to how the bill will affect the overall landscape of business and innovation. The bill, introduced by Rep. Lamar Smith in late October, gives both the U.S. government and copyright holders the authority to seek court orders against websites associated with infringing, pirating and/or counterfeiting intellectual property.
One of the key arguments we've heard about SOPA and PIPA in defending the fact that dedicated infringers will always find their way around the blocks to continue infringing, is that it's really intended as an "educational" mechanism, based on the assumption that people going to certain "rogue sites" don't know they're rogue -- but with a big DOJ banner, perhaps they'll be educated. This has never made much sense, frankly. The entertainment industry has been betting its legacy business model for quite some time on the myth that all it takes is a little "education" to fix things. Multiple studies have shown that nothing is further from the truth. People who infringe know they're infringing. And they still do it.
Intellectual property (IP) infringement on the Internet is not limited to digital content. Counterfeit goods, often of poor quality, are widely available online through retail websites and online auctions. Counterfeiters sell goods such as infant formula or baby shampoo that expose young children to serious health risks. Illegal online pharmacies sell counterfeit prescription and non-prescription drugs to consumers for a variety of health conditions. At best, these drugs may simply be ineffective; at worst, they can be harmful, or even lethal, to consumers. Consumers shopping online may inadvertently purchase counterfeit goods, especially luxury goods such as jewelry, cosmetics, handbags, garments and shoes.
The U.S. House judiciary committee responsible for the Stop Online Piracy Act (or SOPA) has released a list of companies ( PDF ) that have publicly expressed their support for the legislation. SOPA gives both the U.S. government and copyright holders the authority to seek court orders against websites associated with infringing, pirating and/or counterfeiting intellectual property. The implication of having the bill pass is that it could drastically change the way the Internet operates. For example, if a website is accused of containing copyright-infringing content (such as a song, picture or video clip), the site could be blocked by ISPs, de-indexed from search engines and even prevented from doing business with companies like PayPal.
A colleague asked me today for a crash course on the "Stop Online Privacy Act" (SOPA). I sent him my feature at the O'Reilly Radar, where I wrote about how Congress is considering anti-piracy bills that could cripple Internet industries and harm digital innovation. The thing is, that post is about 6,000 words long and is now a month out of date. So here's the briefing I sent back. First, you should know the major players in the House of Representatives: Representative Lamar Smith (R-TX), chairman of House Judiciary Committee. His staffers had a major hand in drafting it.