Posts tagged ‘Innovation’

January 18, 2012

The Implications of SOPA and PIPA on the Internet

Written By: Joel Suss

Today, Wikipedia has taken itself offline in protest. Thousands of other sites, including the host of this blog, WordPress, are taking part by removing content or by being blacked-out, protesting the first attempt by the US government to censure and control the internet.  It is a monumental and unprecedented day in the life of the internet.

While the stated objective of the legislation, to tackle online intellectual property theft, is valid in principle, the effects were they to become law would have serious negative implications for the internet and may not even be effective in limiting piracy. Here are some important details about the two bills, Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and Protect Intellectual Property Act (PIPA): They would allow the attorney general to create a list of sites that must be blocked. Now here is the kicker: service to these sites may be shut off without a court hearing or trial. SOPA, the bill originating in the House of Representatives, goes even further than the Senate’s PIPA, allowing private companies to sue providers for hosting sites that infringe on copyright, even if it is unwittingly doing so. Imagine Google being bombarded with lawsuits, effectively crippling it.

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