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SOPA Internet Censorship: What you need to know and why you and I must act to stop this bill from passing.
comment No Comments November 18, 2011 – 8:46 pm

On November 16th, the US Congress held hearings on the first American Internet censorship system knows as the “Stop Online Piracy Act,” or SOPA. This bill can pass. If it does the Internet and free speech will never be the same.

Imagine a country where the government is able to shut down Web sites at the slightest provocation, where elected representatives invoke fears of “overseas pirates” to defend the interests of domestic industries, and where Internet companies like Google must cave in to the demands of government censors or risk being shut down.

No, we are not talking about China, North Korea or Iran — we are talking about the United States, where legislators in both the House and Senate are attempting to push through new anti-piracy legislation by year-end that would benefit Hollywood at the expense of Silicon Valley.

Some of the most powerful players in Silicon Valley — Google, Facebook, Zynga, eBay, Twitter, Yahoo, and LinkedIn — have made their opposition to the bill public, even going so far as to take out full-page advertisements (“We Stand Together to Protect Innovation”) explaining their position. via Washington Post

If you are a blogger, a Tumblr, Wordpress, Blogspot user, have a Facebook , Flickr, Etsy, Reddit, Linkd or Twitter account, etc. –under SOPA, any site that contains user-generated content, could be held liable for copyright infringement and be forced to shut down until the offending content has been removed.

Website Blocking

The government can order service providers to block websites for infringing links posted by any users.

Risk of Jail for Ordinary Users

It becomes a felony with a potential 5 year sentence to stream a copyrighted work that would cost more than $2,500 to license, even if you are a totally noncommercial user, e.g. singing a pop song on Facebook.
Chaos for the Internet

Thousands of sites that are legal under the DMCA would face new legal threats. People trying to keep the internet more secure wouldn’t be able to rely on the integrity of the DNS system.

An ad that appeared in New York Times- November 16th issue: signed by Google, Facebook, Mozilla, Zynga, eBay, Twitter, Yahoo, LinkedIn, and AOL

Tell Congress not to censor the internet NOW! –

PROTECT-IP is a bill that has been introduced in the Senate and the House and is moving quickly through Congress. It gives the government and corporations the ability to censor the net, in the name of protecting “creativity”. The law would let the government or corporations censor entire sites– they just have to convince a judge that the site is “dedicated to copyright infringement.”

The government has already wrongly shut down sites without any recourse to the site owner. Under this bill, sharing a video with anything copyrighted in it, or what sites like Youtube and Twitter do, would be considered illegal behavior according to this bill.

According to the Congressional Budget Office, this bill would cost us $47 million tax dollars a year — that’s for a fix that won’t work, disrupts the internet, stifles innovation, shuts out diverse voices, and censors the internet. This bill is bad for creativity and does not protect your rights.

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