Pitfalls of the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA)
This is an issue we have been following very closely for the past two months. Introduced in the US House of Representatives H.R. 3261 (the “Stop Online Piracy Act”) and the US Senate S. 968 (the “PROTECT IP Act”) , the bill comes across as an act to stop illegal file-sharing, piracy, and web forgeries (spoofing). This would be fine except and most welcomed if it’s methods for enforcement (not punishments) weren’t so harsh.
These resolutions mandate that software companies and hosting providers keep constant monitoring and reporting to the Federal Government, providing them with very personal details about your person and your content, including any personal information you would not want to share with other parties. Furthermore the bill would cause many hosting providers to more than triple their hosting fees and non-compliance would result in censorship (the US Government would shut down the site and make it invisible to the world) as well as being held legally liable for every piece of content that flows through their infrastructure.
This bill and resolution would effectively bring social networking to a dead halt – Facebook would close their website down, Google would stop offering their services for free, and we would all digress back to a social era of about 10 years ago. Imagine being the owner of a water pipe manufacture (the equivalent of ISP’s and Web Hosts) had having to be accountable for every molecule of water that passes through your pipes, regardless of the water company you sold them to. No manufacture would stay in business, and this is what this bill and resolution aims to do with other web hosts and IPS on the internet.
You can get involved to stop this by simply contacting your representative or congressman to let them know you do not support such a poorly written bill that leaves these federally exploitable loopholes so gapingly large in its core. What does it do exactly? The Larry Downes Website has a very detailed list of the benefits and critical flaws of this resolution and its Senate counterpart.