I don't usually write publicly about my political leanings but I feel that this topic needs as much attention as it can get. The "Stop Online Piracy Act (H.R. 3261)" or SOPA is a bill making it's way through congress which is supposed to help mitigate piracy of copyrighted material on the internet. While the overall concept is good, I take issue with the collateral damage SOPA will cause. If passed, SOPA will "reverse the protections of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998 (“DMCA”) by creating liability for Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to affirmatively block customer access to the web and specific websites claimed, but not adjudicated, to be pirating content."1
My attention was initially drawn to SOPA when I read an article on A List Apart by Jeffrey Zeldman titled "Say No to SOPA."2 Jeffrey lays out his opposition to SOPA in plain english and his article prompted me to do more research on the topic. I found that in addition to the list of organizations Jeffrey mentioned as being opposed to SOPA, the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) is opposed to it as well. The ACLJ has prepared a legal analysis on SOPA which outlines the first amendment concerns with the legislation.
I highly suggest reading Jeffrey's article and the ACLJ's legal analysis. I've borrowed the following list of actions you can take to make your voice heard regarding the SOPA legislation from Jeffrey's article.
American Censorship Day, one of several campaigns to stop SOPA, has come and gone, but you can still take action:
We urge everyone reading this to take action today. Only an overwhelming show of solidarity gives us a chance of defeating this poorly written, dangerous bill.
- "First Amendment Concerns Posed by http://c0391070.cdn2.cloudfiles.rackspacecloud.com/pdf/first-amendment-concerns-posed-sopa.pdf SOPA" - American Center for Law and Justice, November 28, 2011 (http://c0391070.cdn2.cloudfiles.rackspacecloud.com/pdf/first-amendment-concerns-posed-sopa.pdf)
- "Say No to SOPA" - A List Apart, Jeffrey Zelman, November 29, 2011 (http://www.alistapart.com/articles/say-no-to-sopa)