Stop SOPA Stop SOPA
Today SOPA is being discussed in Congress.
And if it passes, Internet marketing as we know it is hosed….as would be your livelihood.
SOPA (the Stop Online Piracy Act) is a bill currently in the US Congress that would allow the US Government to add sites to a blacklist, preventing anyone in the United States from accessing them.
The stated goal is to limit access to pirate ("warez") sites, and sites that sell counterfeit physical products. Fake Rolexes, designer clothes, prescription drugs, etc.
Good stuff you'd think, aye? I firmly feel the *intent* of the bill should be supported – as we all know, theft of intellectual products of businesses is lousy. For those of us who make our living online, it can be a real issue.
Let's say now that "digital" thievery is the next step thing to be added to the bill.
- You know, YouTube videos that have copywrited material.
- Or copied text.
Or links to that copyright material.
For example, take *any* forum or Skype room or blog etc that you own.
Someone posts a link to a video.
That contains copywritten material.
Your site could be shutdown because the link appears on *your* site.
More SOPA Potential Problems
You can find a good list of SOPA issues over here, including:
An analysis in the information technology magazine eWeek stated, "The language of SOPA is so broad, the rules so unconnected to the reality of Internet technology and the penalties so disconnected from the alleged crimes that this bill could effectively kill e-commerce or even normal Internet use. The bill also has grave implications for existing U.S., foreign and international laws and is sure to spend decades in court challenges."
Here's an Internet Marketing SOPA example.
How might SOPA effect you?
Well, the Warrior Forum gave this wonderful example:
"…Here's the simple version: If the Justice Department or any copyright holder accused a site of "encouraging or facilitating" piracy, the government could order that site removed from US-based search engines and ad networks, forbid payment processors from handling transactions for them, and require ISPs to block access to those sites by their customers.
Let's consider how that might apply to this forum… There are currently over 335,000 pages on this site. If just one of those pages contained a single post promoting an illegal download, or one WSO seller has used graphics or code from a copyrighted product without permission, or we miss just one Chinese spam for counterfeit goods, we could be blocked.
Would it matter that we actively look for and delete those posts? Maybe, but only after the process had begun. And we'd probably never know about it until the block was in place.
The amount of time that it would take to correct such an unjustified blocking would cause permanent damage to any interactive site. Shifting the membership away from a destination for that long nearly guarantees the site would never recover.
Along with that, there is no requirement that payment processors re-accept a site that has been blocked this way. You know how these guys work: They don't care if the site is eventually found innocent. They'd label it as "high risk," and never deal with it again. And they'd probably start creating whole new categories to lock out, just to avoid the headaches.
"You let visitors post on your site? Sorry. We don't accept interactive services in our network."…MORE…"
Here's a hobby example.
Do you like networking at knitting sites? Or maybe home theater design sites? Bunches of folk share their patterns and their ideas….if just one individual included a copyrighted source, BAM.
Your hobby site goes byebye.
And when I say, byebye, I mean, "disappears from the Internet".
As in, you'll not be able to find it again.
What You Can Do
Contact these people and tell them that while you might support the goal, you oppose the legislation because of the damage it will do to the Internet, entrepreneurs and businesses online.
If you prefer the phone, you can contact your representatives in Congress directly. The Senate switchboard number is (202) 224-3121, and the House switchboard is (202) 224-3121.
When writing or speaking to a House member, remember to reference SOPA, H.R. 3261. If you’re speaking or writing to a Senator, reference PIPA, Bill S.968. MORE…
Getting rid of pirates is admirable, but the above bill would not affect them at all (they'd merely come up with other ways to distribute their warez).
Thus, take a bit of time to today to let your congressfolk know this legislation should *not* be passed.