So every once in awhile, a new bill hits Congress with the goal of reducing online piracy. The latest version of this is SOPA or the Stop Online Piracy Act. The counterpart in the Senate is PROTECT-IP (this one’s a mouthful – Preventing Real Online Threats to Economic Creativity and Theft of Intellectual Property Act). I thought I had posted about this idiotic bill ages ago, but of course my memory is faulty and I can’t find anything.
Both of these bills would allow an entire website to be taken down because of any suspected pirated or stolen content. This might sound great to an artist, but think of it this way. Someone sings a Beach Boys song and uploads it to YouTube. YouTube can be shut down. The whole site, not just one specific video.
DCMA currently allows a copyright owner to go through legal channels to get copyrighted content removed. Apparently for some copyright owners, DCMA isn’t enough. The number of companies and organizations supporting SOPA have been at times surprising and other times no surprise at all.
GoDaddy was vocal in supporting SOPA until a very public backlash that turned into a PR nightmare.
SumOfUs is encouraging people to email Google to withdraw from the US Chamber of Commerce because the Chamber supports SOPA.
Now Sony, Electronic Arts (EA Games) and Nintendo have apparently withdrawn support for SOPA. Yet though they’re not listed as supporting this bill, they’re still members of the Entertainment Software Association, and the ESA supports SOPA. Oops.
This bill is turning into a PR nightmare for companies that rely on the Internet for their business. Yet they’re still pushing for the bill’s approval.
Since I’m not as eloquent as I’d like to be tonight, I’ll end with this. Adam Savage has an article in Popular Mechanics that’s available on their website. In this article, he explains why SOPA and PROTECT-IP are a bad idea. Check it out here. (Opens in a new window).