Stop Online Privacy Act, also known as SOPA, is a draconian anti-piracy bill that was introduced in the U.S. Congress in October 2011. If you’ve been on the Internet recently, you must have heard a lot about SOPA, and how it will ruin the web. People worldwide are protesting against it, also, many companies who are supporting it are being faced with a massive boycott.
If the bill is passed, many sites, including ones like ours, may get banned from the search results, lose all advertising, and get the domain name blocked for simply having a couple of links that could be interpreted as ‘piracy-friendly’. So, if you’re fully unaware of what SOPA might do to the Internet, here are five reasons why SOPA sucks.
1. SOPA Gives the Power to Censor the Internet to the Entertainment Industry
"Movies in Hollywood now, for the past 20 or 30 years, are made mainly by lawyers or agents." -- Jean-Luc Godard.
Hollywood, even though, a pinnacle of cinematic art and entertainment is still in the hands of beady-eyed businessmen who think that piracy is a crime that should be punishable by death. It is thanks to these Hollywood lobbyists that millions of innocent website-owners will face unnecessary lawsuits and eventually may end up losing their livelihood.
2. SOPA Curbs Internet Freedom And Online Freedom of Speech
2011 saw the Internet being a part of major revolutions. That, however, might become just a one-off event as SOPA makes it easier than ever to censor content on the Internet. Thanks to the bill’s convoluted fine print, social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, and G+ might become easy targets of these ‘anti-piracy’ marshals, thus curbing Internet freedom.
3. SOPA Kills Jobs, Thwarts Entrepreneurial Growth.
If you are running an Internet-based business, or are thinking about starting one, then SOPA is one hell of a nightmare for you. If your website contains just a couple of links that violate the anti-piracy act, your site’s domain name will get blocked from the Internet, you’ll lose all your advertisers, and your site will no longer appear in search results. Here’s what section 102 of the bill says it will do to infringing websites:
Order Internet service providers to alter their DNS servers from resolving the domain names of websites in foreign countries that host illegal copies of videos, songs, and photos.
Order search engines like Google to modify search results to exclude foreign websites that host illegally copied material.
Order payment providers like PayPal to shut down the payment accounts of foreign websites that host illegally copied material.
Order ad services like Google's AdSense to refuse any ads or payment from foreign sites that host illegally copied content.
While SOPA supporters continue to argue that the bill is introduced to protect jobs (by preventing piracy), it will actually end up killing more jobs than one can ever imagine.
4. SOPA Doesn’t Curb Piracy, It Merely Makes Pirated Content Less Accessible
SOPA, once passed, will be able to block any website it deems as an infringement of its policies. The fatal flaw in this blocking mechanism, however, is that it doesn’t actually ‘block’ the site; it basically blocks the site’s domain name. So, if you try to visit, let’s say ‘example.com’, you won’t be able to load the website; but instead, if you type in the site’s IP address, you’ll be able to access the site in its full glory.
Now, as you can see, you’ll still be able to visit your favorite pirate-infested websites, but this time, you’ll have to remember their IP addresses instead. If, however, the bill does get passed --we all hope against it though-- Reddit has a huge list of IP addresses of all the major sites. You can view this list HERE.
5. SOPA Is A Threat To Open Source Too
If an open-source project is found to be aiding piracy, SOPA might be able to shut it down too. This will have a huge impact on fledgling open-source projects further hindering the growth of innovation and technology.
So, as you must have noticed, SOPA isn’t a good news for anyone who cares about the Internet, or even individual freedom for that matter. The five aforementioned reasons are just the tip of the iceberg, the bill is much more destructive than the proponents portray it to be. Many people have started boycotting SOPA supporters, which include the massive GoDaddy boycott that grabbed a lot of eyeballs. If you too are looking forward to boycotting other SOPA supporters, feel free to do so with the help of this huge list of SOPA proponents.
Also, don’t forget to sign the petition opposing the draconian bill HERE.
Finally, here are some great Anti-SOPA videos we came across while surfing the net:
1. Anonymous doesn’t seem to be so happy about the whole SOPA thing.
2. And Fuhrer, we’ll he’s just pissed off as everyone else.
3. I’m not a big hip-hop or rap fan myself, but somehow I ended up loving this song.
4. Finally, if you still don’t get what SOPA is all about, here’s more about the evil law in much simpler terms:
Written by: Abhishek, a regular TechSource contributor and a long-time FOSS advocate.