If you are unaware of SOPA, it is not your fault, this hasn’t banged the people yet but soon it might, and could be a threat for your internet freedom, what is SOPA? And what will it mean for you if it passes?
The Stop Online Piracy Act, known as SOPA, it is a United States bill introduced by U.S. Representative Lamar S. Smith (R-TX) to expand the ability of U.S. law enforcement to combat online copyright infringement and online trafficking in counterfeit goods. The law would expand existing criminal laws to include unauthorized streaming of copyrighted content, imposing a maximum penalty of five years in prison.
The SOPA and the PROTECT IP Act (PIPA) are bills that were introduced into the United States House of Representatives and the United States Senate in the last quarter of 2011. Both are responses to the problem of enforcement of U.S. laws against websites outside U.S. jurisdiction. While the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) and other existing laws have generally been considered effective against illegal content or activities on U.S.-based sites, action is more difficult against overseas websites.SOPA and PIPA proposed to rectify this by cutting off infringing sites from their US based funding (particularly advertising), payment processors, appearances on search engines, and visibility on web browsers, instead. Major providers of all these services are predominantly U.S. based. Notably, the provisions also involved modifying the DNS system, a crucial service that underpins the entire internet and allows computers to locate each other reliably around the world.
Creator would get enormous power over internet to catch anyone and act accordingly who’s find guilty of breaching the law.
The beating heart of SOPA is the ability of intellectual property owners (read: movie studios and record labels) to effectively pull the plug on foreign sites against whom they have a copyright claim. If Warner Bros., for example, says that a site in Italy is torrenting a copy of The Dark Knight, the studio could demand that Google remove that site from its search results, that PayPal no longer accept payments to or from that site, that ad services pull all ads and finances from it, and—most dangerously—that the site’s ISP prevent people from even going there.
Threats to social networking.
SOPA also includes an “anti-circumvention” clause, which holds that telling people how to work around SOPA is nearly as bad as violating its main provisions. In other words: if your status update links to The Pirate Bay, Facebook would be legally obligated to remove it. Ditto tweets, YouTube videos, Tumblr or WordPress posts, or sites indexed by Google. And if Google, Twitter, WordPress, Facebook, etc. let it stand? They face a government “enjoinment.” They could and would be shut down.
The party line on SOPA is that it only affects seedy off-shore torrent sites. That’s false. As the big legal brains at Bricoleur point out, the potential collateral damage is huge. And it’s you. Because while Facebook and Twitter have the financial wherewithal to stave off anti-circumvention shut down notices, the smaller sites you use to store your photos, your videos, and your thoughts may not. If the government decides any part of that site infringes on copyright and proves it in court? Poof. Your digital life is gone, and you can’t get it back.