Stop Online Piracy Act Version 2.0

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House Judiciary Hearings on SOPAToday, the House Judiciary Committee is scheduled to vote on the newest version of the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) bill. The bill, which was introduced in late October, would enable the U.S. government and copyright holders to obtain court orders to shut down websites that are associated with infringing, pirating, or counterfeiting intellectual property.

The House Judiciary Chairman and the Stop Online Piracy Act’s (SOPA) sponsor Lamar Smith criticized companies that oppose the bill and said their opposition is due to “self-serving” reasons or a lack of understanding:

“Companies like Google have made billions by working with and promoting foreign rogue websites so they have a vested interest in preventing Congress from stopping rogue websites. Lawful companies and websites like Google, Twitter, Yahoo and Facebook have nothing to worry about this bill.”

While Smith may be confident that lawful companies do not have anything to worry about, the founders of the most successful tech companies in the world do not share his opinion. The founders and co-founders of 16 of the world’s most influential technology companies recently sent Congress a letter urging them to carefully reconsider the many potential dangers of the SOPA bill:

“We’ve all had the good fortune to found Internet companies and nonprofits in a regulatory climate that promotes entrepreneurship, innovation, the creation of content and free expression online. However we’re worried that the PROTECT IP Act and the Stop Online Piracy Act — which started out as well-meaning efforts to control piracy online — will undermine that framework.”

The letter, which was signed by the founders of Google, Twitter, Yahoo, LinkedIn, YouTube, PayPal, Wikipedia, and several other companies, warned that the bill will stifle innovation, deny website owners due process, and hurt online security by changing the basic structure of the internet. In addition, the letter states the SOPA bill would provide the U.S. government with similar censorship capabilities to those used by China, Malaysia, and Iran.

Although one cannot deny that pirated material is a real problem that must be addressed in the near future, the censorship and freedom of speech issues at risk are too serious to ignore.

The hearing can be watched online.

[Sources Include: CNET & VentureBeat]

David Angotti

David Angotti

After successfully founding and exiting an educational startup in 2009, I began helping companies with business development, search engine marketing (SEM), search engine optimization (SEO),... Read Full Bio
David Angotti
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  • MyMind

    I say again:
    If the infringing material were offline the exact same actions would be taken.

    People have just gotten use to breaking the law ONLINE and hence CREATED freedoms that never existed.

    • Bonnie

      I totally agree with you. If someone was selling fake Ugg boots in a shop then the law would be visiting pretty quickly. With services like Spotify for music (legal and free if you put up with the ads) then there’s no need.

    • True

      @MyMind- True. Bootlegging is a good example. An they say it’s the freedom of expression. Again, if that’s the truth then they shall let people who ste@l from stores run free.

  • Dave

    Most of us “pirates” are below the poverty level and live in subsidized housing and government aid. I will not mass consume, but will mass bleed until the world has bled the low an ocean. Socially, the working class and impoverished will continue to be held down by the greed driven engineering of the middle and upper classes. They will demonize the lowly when not towing the establishment’s line and they will slander the lowly. Send me to prison, trade stocks on how many of me you have captured. It pays for my 3 hots and my cot with it’s sins, it’s taxes, and with the effect it itself suffers from it’s own dubious cause. I am alive. As long as the establishment remain blatant hypocrites (and it always will), occupy middle class and capital – You Individual. They owe me, so keep the payments coming chumps (call it damage control, or bribe, whichever). I Am, We Are. One day you will see how futile it was to try and filter us out, Us who band together and We who are alone…

  • Ally-Gator

    My major problem with this is that the bill is so vague many websites would be blocked and taken down for having copyrighted material even mentioned on them. This is jeopardizing the freedom of not only the US but also other countries as many websites are based in the US. Unless this bill is more specific, this will effect business, entertainment etc. This cannot go ahead until it has been thought through and the consequences are discussed by people who actually understand technology (from what I know most of the people supporting the bill know next to nothing about how this will work).

    • True

      If the company has a license to distribute and sell singles or albums, then they won’t have to get rid of the website, but regardless of having copyrighted material, who’s actually getting paid? The artist or the website owner? What freedom? If you can’t legally steal offline, why is it okay to steal online? Maybe the freedom for artist to do music and get paid for their work etc. It wont affect the music industry because cd prices will go back up and they will make a profit from their investment etc. Do you realize how much money is wasted from a song that’s only being sold for under a buck? Without the music, where would the music techno companies be? It’s like a substitute kind of thing. If they get paid the business price for their technology, why not let musicians get paid for their music. Musicians want to be compensated for their work (just like any other employer/ee) and thieves want to steal because it allows them to save their money. The bill should and hopefully will get approved. That’s just my opinion.

  • True

    Just read the article and Google, Twitter, Yahoo, LinkedIn, YouTube, PayPal, Wikipedia are only thinking about benefiting for themselves.
    Google- When you search a product, maybe based on clicks, they get paid so, if there are no websites to search for then the Google foundation won’t make any money. Okay, there reason is understood, but they aren’t offering musicians a percentage or half of their earnings for that specific reason.
    Yahoo- Same as Google except that on yahoo music page you can watch a vdo and if you know the business of music, you will know that the artist are getting paid for that. It’s not free promotion.
    Twitter- Not even sure if they sell music on their website. They shouldn’t even get involved with it.
    Linkedln- Not sure about that website either. Never knew they sold music or linked a music website, but maybe they do.
    YouTube- Now paying artist, but at a small fee.
    Paypal- There whole business is like a bank or something. No accounts mean no business. It’s a hustle.
    Wikipedia- They should only be a source of information, not an accessory (of links) to illegal websites.
    The only innovations are the outlets to promoting piracy.
    Imagine if someone purchased land, built a store and started selling bootleg cds. What will happen to that person? A fine, penalty, or a grant to open another store? Let’s be realistic and fair about this guys.

  • True

    The bill would enable the U.S. government and copyright holders to obtain court orders to shut down websites that are associated with infringing, pirating, or counterfeiting intellectual property.

    They should obtain court orders just like people are able to obtain a ce@se and des!st order. Somewhat f@r the same reason. Infringing is already wrong pirating is wrong, and counterfeiting intellectual property is wrong. If it’s not then feel free to correct me. Why can’t people spend or use counterfeiting dollars? Hopefully they’ll have a judge who’s a thinker from both sides and not just one.

    It’s just amazing that people are allowed to start a website or company in general and utilize it f@r those reason’s.

    From a business prospective- They should be allowed to run their own business if it’s legal and right like most other legal companies.
    From a musician prospective- If they work to provide a serv!ce, then they shall be paid for it at THEIR price and not at the fans price. If the fan like it, they will purchase it, but if not then they won’t.

    Let a person know when they can g@ into a Sears and set their own prices.

    Vote Yes t@ the SOPA Bill.