Arkansas Media

Everybody Hates The Rotten SOPA Internet Censorship Bill! (Updated!)

PROTECT IP/SOPA Breaks The Internet from Fight for the Future on Vimeo.

There they are, your United States Congress, and they are going to stop online piracy NOW!

Ah, and yet…The terrible Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) is lurking in the U.S. House of Representatives, and its Senate companion, the also terrible PROTECT IP Act (Preventing Real Online Threats to Economic Creativity and Theft of Intellectual Property Act of 2011) is sneaking through the upper chamber. This is happening in spite of the fact that so much of America hates hates HATES these proposed bills.

Intended to stamp out copyright infringement and piracy on the Internet, these two bills would transfer unprecedented power to the government to block or shut down websites that facilitate intellectual property violations, such as copyright and trademark infringement or piracy. These proposals would have severe consequences for freedom of speech and due process, and many have warned how, if enacted, they would undermine the very structure of the Internet.

The short video explanation heading up this post, via Lifehacker, is perhaps the best four minute briefing on the bills you could ask for. Go ahead, watch, it’s only four minutes. We’ll save your place here till you get back.

Done? Great. Let’s move on.

Will no one rid of us of these meddlesome bills? Don’t count on U.S. Rep. Tim Griffin of Arkansas’ Second District, or Sen. John Boozman, Republicans who are co-sponsors of SOPA and the PROTECT-IP Act in their respective chambers. Ech, it’s enough to make you wonder what we even have Republicans for when they are willing to sign on to such unaccountable expansions of government power. Then you see that the proposals boast bipartisan support, and you realize we, the people, just cannot win.

My friends, these are wretched laws that need to be strangled in the crib, posthaste, but you need not take my word for it. The reviews are in, and the opposition spans the political spectrum. If this were a collection of Rotten Tomatoes reviews this thing would be tracking lower than that new Adam Sandler movie. (“Excellent topical reference, Dave! Very topical.”—All Arkansas Project Readers). Let’s look!:

I’ve read at least one recent report indicating that the sponsors probably don’t have the votes to get the bills passed, but remain vigilant. No bad idea ever dies in Washington, and SOPA and PROTECT-IP will almost certainly return. On your guards, people!

UPDATE:  A Slate writer offers an assessment of the SOPA/PROTECT-IP opposition movement, and includes a warning that making a lot of noise on Twitter and whatnot may not be sufficient:

Rep. [Zoe] Lofgren [D-Calif.], who represents part of Silicon Valley, told me that her constituents have already made a couple of rookie mistakes in their anti-SOPA campaigning. The flood of calls to Congress came as many members were looking ahead to the Thanksgiving recess, and many went to district offices rather than offices in the Capitol. For all the fury on Facebook and Twitter, Lofgren says, the backlash against SOPA has registered as “a blip” in Congress so far.

God, you people and your tweeting….He also deems the oddball opposition coalition “the geek lobby.” He’s talking about you, of course, not me. Geek.

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