SOPA: Is it censorship or sense? (POLL)
We're not going to take sides here. Everyone knows where they stand on SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act). We're just going to let you know the latest news as this pretty darn significant bill gets closer to a vote.
In case you don't know what SOPA is or think it's a tasty Mexican dish, here's the deal. also known as H.R.3261, is a bill that was introduced in the United States House of Representatives on October 26, 2011, by Representative Lamar Smith (R-TX) and a bipartisan group of 12 initial co-sponsors.
The bill would allow the U.S. Department of Justice as well as copyright holders to seek court orders against sites accused of copyright infringement or even enabling it. Depending on the circumstances, it could block the use of PayPal on the site, disallow sites like Google or Bing from listing a site or force them to block it entirely. The bill would make unauthorized streaming of copyrighted content a felony.
There are definitely aspects of this bill that are chilling. Censorship is a scary thing, even when it's done to protect someone's interests. Nine Internet companies have taken out full-page ads in the New York Times. Netscape, eBay, Google and Yahoo claim the bill will "undermine the framework" of free expression. Similar sentiments have been expressed by Wikipedia, PayPal, Flickr, LinkedIn and YouTube.
Large entertainment companies have come down on the other side. Viacom, Disney and Time Warner have all pledged support for SOPA, calling Internet piracy "digital theft." The website Tech Dirt actually leaked an email from NBC, asking partners to support CreativeAmerica, a grassroots effort to support SOPA formed by the the major Hollywood studios. CreativeAmerica sent out a letter that it wants signed. The email said,
"We are writing to ask you for help on an issue that is one our top business priorities - content theft on the Internet, which is a major threat to the strength of our business. Our major guilds and unions are joining us in the fight to keep our businesses strong so that the tidal wave of content theft does not kill jobs. But if the current trend continues, it's not too strong to say that this threat could adversely affect our business relationship with you."
Affect our business relationship? Wow. We get both sides of this, of course. We're sure you do too. We'd really love to hear your thoughts on this one. Vote in our poll below and let us know what you think.