The Stop Online Piracy Act is a controversial bill that would allow the Justice Department to pull foreign sites "dedicated" to copyright infringement out of the DNS system and search engine results — effectively altering the way the internet works. It's a hugely controversial bill that takes a scorched-earth approach to solving the thorny problem of copyright infringement on the web, and it's attracting a lot of attention from around the web. We're tracking the bill's progress and reaction from the industry right here.
Dec 20, 2011
Tomorrow's scheduled committee vote on the controversial Stop Online Piracy Act has been postponed, with no apparent new date on the books so far. That's the second postponement in committee for SOPA, which would require ISPs and search engines to alter DNS records and search results to keep foreign sites "dedicated" to copyright infringement away from US citizens; the bill was the subject of two marathon hearings last week that ended abruptly after opponents voiced passionate opposition to the bill.Read Article >
Representative Lamar Smith (R-Texas), who sponsored the bill and chairs the House Judiciary committee, vowed to open hearings again as soon as possible and set tomorrow as the new date, but it appears the upcoming Congressional break for the holidays simply got in his way. That should give SOPA's opposition additional time to gear up against the bill — a Committee spokesperson told The Washington Post a new date won't be set until early January.
Dec 20, 2011
Twitter's attorney says SOPA could punish every user of a service for the alleged infringement of oneRead Article >
Twitter general counsel and former Google attorney Alex MacGillivray shared his views on the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) last week, and he's not a fan. He believes that under SOPA, if a single portion of a site was found to be guilty of copyright infringement, the whole service could be shut down at the domain level, with no regard to the legitimate users of such a service, and no way for those users to recover the precious data they entrust to the cloud. Read about one such theoretical user, Abe, at our source link, and what kind of collateral damage MacGillivray believes that Abe might experience.
Dec 19, 2011
If you think Congress should learn more about the internet, then you should learn more about CongressRead Article >
Clay Johnson, who worked on Barack Obama's 2008 online campaign, says in a response to Kopstein that while it's bad for Congress to be ill-informed about something they're regulating, it's also bad for activists to be ignorant of Congress' inner workings. He says Washington's methods are not going to change by the time SOPA deliberations have ended, and that those who best educate Congress usually end up with the winning legislation (and he says that right now the lobbyists are winning). To get the big money out of the equation, Johnson says that Congress needs new technological tools to help representatives actually hear their constituents, instead of adhering to needlessly restrictive technology rules and using software that was built in the 1990s. Of course, that means for Congress to hear citizens on an issue like SOPA, they'd have to first convince representatives to adopt new tech for themselves. It's definitely worth the effort, but the real question is whether Congress is willing to listen.
Dec 16, 2011
The controversial Stop Online Piracy Act (or SOPA) was derailed somewhat today as the House Judiciary Committee adjourned its second day of hearings on the bill without a vote to pass the bill out of committee, or a revised schedule for such a vote to take place. The stall in proceedings take place after a marathon committee session yesterday that ran for nearly 12 hours, and during which the bill's sponsors were repeatedly exposed for knowing virtually nothing about the actual workings of the internet, which SOPA would regulate at a fundamental level — the bill would authorize the Justice Department to order ISPs and search engines to pull foreign sites "dedicated" to copyright infringement out of the DNS system and search results. The committee faced particular criticism for only calling content industry representatives to testify but not hearing from any experts on internet engineering or network infrastructure, even as it faces widespread opposition from the internet industry: Google, Facebook, Twitter and others placed a full-page ad in the New York Times last month opposing the bill, and a similar open letter from pioneering internet engineers led by TCP/IP co-inventor Vint Cerf was published yesterday.Read Article >
In the aftermath of that criticism and widespread coverage of yesterday's circus-like hearing, SOPA chief sponsor Representative Lamar Smith (R-Texas) has agreed re-examine the provisions that impact the DNS system and search results, but he's also vowed to resume hearings on "the earliest practical day" Congress is back in session. Considering the upcoming holiday break, that's likely to be well into January — by which time it's all but certain SOPA's extremely vocal opposition will have brought their chorus to dissent to a full-on roar.
Nov 17, 2011
A group of nine internet and technology companies including Google, Twitter, Facebook, Yahoo, and Zynga ran a full-page ad in the New York Times yesterday, voicing their opposition to the proposed Stop Online Piracy Act (H.R. 3261) and PROTECT IP Act (S. 968). They're not happy that the the two proposed bills will modify the "safe harbor" provision of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), which protects companies hosting content from copyright violations so long as they make good faith efforts to remove infringing material when they're given notice from the owners.Read Article >
The timing of the letter, entitled "We stand together to protect innovation," coincided with a public hearing this morning that saw testimony from the MPAA, Pfizer, Google, the U.S. Library of Congress, the AFL-CIO, and MasterCard.