That's not the problem. Copyright and other intellectual property rights are important, and should have legal protection.
But SOPA, as originally set up, would allow some Federal official to blacklist websites. But that's okay? After all, only 'pirate' websites will be affected. And, presumably, since they're 'pirates,' there's no need for a trial: according to SOPA.
Let's imagine a hypothetical situation.
'It Can't Happen Here?'Let's say there's this website, run by someone who isn't sufficiently grateful about being protected from pirates. One of the pages on this website includes that quote from "Star Wars," "I've got a bad feeling about this." Complete with a sound clip from the 1977 movie.
That, according to some Washington bureaucrat, is 'piracy.'
And so the troublesome website disappears.
Without a trial.
After all, SOPA protects Hollywood against 'pirates,' and their kind doesn't deserve a trial, right?
Or, maybe not-so-right.
Quite a few folks have been raising a fuss about SOPA: including a sort of protest shutdown on Wednesday of next week, January 18.
- "Notch Joins January 18 Anti-SOPA Protest"
Ian Miles Cheong, gameranx.com (January 13, 2012)
- "Reddit to protest SOPA with Jan. 18 Blackout"
PC World India News (January 13, 2012)
- "Sen. Leahy bows to pressure, pledges to amend Protect IP bill"
Declan McCullagh, CNet (January 12, 2012)
Protected from 'Pirates' - And Disturbing Ideas?Maybe the most disturbing part of SOPA is that a member of Congress apparently decided that websites should be suppressed - without a trial - based on whether or not some government official thought they had the 'wrong' sort of content.
Protecting folks who produce content is a good idea. That was the idea behind "residuals:" allowing someone besides studio heads from profiting from a movie that continues to make money. And yes: there's more to residuals than that:
- "Residuals FAQ"
Screen Actors Guild
Even if whoever is pushing SOPA 'means well,' this is a very bad idea.
On the other hand, it could be worse. The Egyptian government shut down the Internet in their country a year ago. Egypt has a new government now, by the way.
'It can't happen here?' Well, maybe. But folks with power have been known to react badly when they think they're not being properly appreciated:
- "Lemming Tracks: Egypt Government Shuts Down Internet: It Can't Happen Here?"
(January 29, 2011)
- "China Protects Online Gamers: Another Dubious Idea"
(January 18, 2009)
- "The Internet: USA Rules, UAE Rules"
(August 14, 2007)
Other related posts:
- "Lemming Tracks: SOPA, Tech-Savvy Folks, Hollywood, and Congress"
(January 9, 2012)
- "SOPA: 20 Reasons Why It's a Really Bad Idea"
(December 30, 2011)
- "SOPA, Censorship, the Twits in Washington, and a Ranting Lemming"
(December 28, 2011)
- "Lemming Tracks: Internet Freedom; or 'Be Careful What You Wish For' "
(April 19, 2011)
- " 'Search Neutrality:' Deciding What We're Allowed to Find?"
(January 22, 2011)