The “Stop Online Piracy Act” (SOPA), introduced last month by House Judiciary committee chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas), is a bill aimed at stopping online piracy. It is similar to the bill passed in the Senate known as “Preventing Real Online Threats to Economic Creativity and Theft of Intellectual Property Act”. Known is short as (Protect IP). SOPA is receiving heavy support from Motion Picture Association of America, the Recording Industry Association of America, Netflix, and many others in the film and music industry
However, Critics of SOPA say if far surpasses the authority given to law enforcement than Protect IP does. Web Giants Facebook, Google, Ebay, and AOL ran full page ads in many newspapers urging lawmakers to reconsider the bill. Microsoft and Verizon have also began to express concerns about SOPA. Despite the controversy and criticism, the bill has considerable bipartisan support.
The most catching part of SOPA, is that it allows the Department of Justice, run by Attorney General (AG) Eric Holder mind you, to pursue court orders for websites “outside” of US jurisdiction accused of enabling or hosting pirated content on their website. Lets think about that. Accused, not discovered to, or found guilty of, but accused. Once a court order is obtained, the Attorney General could then direct a US web based companies to suspend business with the company or face the possibility of federal prosecution. The AG would also have the ability to direct search engines from blocking the IP in a search. The bill would also make it a felony to stream unauthorized copyrighted content.
One can not help but think with the upcoming election year, the current administration would be foaming at the mouth to get this passed. And do you really think that it will stay confined to websites outside of US jurisdiction? Can’t you see it now? All the liberals will be scouring the Internet, with the music and movie industry’s best interest at heart no doubt, looking at every conservative blog and website they can find regardless of importance with sole purpose of locating “pirated” content. It could be something as small as a picture of an American flag or video found on YouTube. The Justice Department will request the court order to shut that blog down with the individual facing the potential of fines and restitution. Not a bad way to break the spirit. Lets not forget about all the new litigation that will ensue.
The road to hell is paved with good intentions. SOPA is a good intention that has the potential to go bad real fast. Every conservative writer and blogger needs to contact their Congressman and tell them No to SOPA.