With the entire buzz about SOPA and the highly visible protests from some major sites today like Google, Reddit, Wikipedia and Wired, I’ve been looking for more factual posts on the web regarding this highly controversial topic.
Quick intro to SOPA: Simply put, SOPA (Stop Online Privacy Act) and its companion PIPA (Protect IP Act) are two anti-piracy bills intended to strengthen protections against copyright infringement and IP theft. SOPA battles the menace of piracy and intends to protect content creators by requiring that rogue sites be blocked by ISPs, prevented from using online payment services and removed from search engines.
Proponents of SOPA believe this is a worthy goal and would push search engines and other service providers to take a more active stance against copyright violation. On the other hand, the biggest concern appears to be that in the long-term, SOPA could have unintended consequences such as potentially hurting innocent companies, and hindering the process of free speech.
Here are the links to a few posts on SOPA that provide a more factual take on this subject:
How SOPA would affect you, Declan McCullagh, CNET
SOPA and PIPA: Just the Facts, Jared Newman, PC World:
SOPA: The Gloves Come Off, Dan Mitchell, CNN Money
In addition, one of my colleagues heard a piece on NPR when driving into work today that addressed SOPA from both sides of the fence. The founder of Reddit.com was quoted as saying that SOPA would stifle innovation by making it cost prohibitive for new Internet companies to launch. A representative from the Arts community talked about the need for the protection this act can offer. He gave an example of a low budget filmmaker having difficulty raising funds if once complete that movie can be easily pirated and distributed on the Internet.
What are your thoughts on SOPA? Do you believe this would be the end of the free Internet? What would happen if this bill should pass? Would it have any noticeable effect on stemming piracy?