Wednesday, 18 January 2012

#SOPA = Silence Opposition Permanently Act [updated]

The US Congress votes today on their Stop Online Piracy Act, aka SOPA, aka the Silence Opposition Permanently Act, which if passed will do as much to Stop Online Activity here in EnZed as it will in the United Police States of America.

Here’s a quick Q&A on this abomination.

Q: Is there a problem with online piracy?
A: There sure is. Every day online the creators of films, music, literature and inventions are having their property downloaded without reward, making their future pursuit of  their careers increasingly impossible.

Q: Will SOPA protect intellectual property?
A: No. The proposed six-strikes-and-you’re-arrested is a legal blunt instrument as imperfect as it is thuggish. So, since anyone determined enough to steal will still be able to do so, online piracy will continue, while a few high profile innocents are shut down or even arrested to demonstrate the Act is “working.”

Q: So what is the purpose of SOPA?
A: Government control of the internet under the guise of protecting intellectual property.

Q: What will it do to the internet?
A: It will put it in the deep freeze. By holding bloggers, programmers, web hosts and ISPs responsible for infringements about which they will not even be aware—on the basis of possibly vexatious complaints and on pain of arrest and even jail—SOPA will chill debate, mangle links and block internet activity

Q: What are the problems in law?
A: The principle of innocent before being proven guilty is totally overturned. And by giving government control of the internet to the government, the internet will be introduced to the lethal virus of censorship—especially dangerous in election periods when a simple complaint will be sufficient to shut down a political opponent .

Q: Should intellectual property be protected?
A: Yes, of course. But in damaging the case for intellectual property, as SOPA’s measures will, it will be more effectively destroy the case for intellectual property than the lame arguments put up by apologists for intellectual theft. 

Q: Should SOPA be opposed?
A: Hell, yes!

Diana Hsieh has a much fuller discussion here and links aplenty explaining why SOPA should be opposed.


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