If you surf the web, you have probably noticed today that numerous high profile sites including Google, Wikipedia, EBay, Facebook, Yahoo and the Electronic Frontier Foundation are protesting two proposed laws called SOPA and PIPA. If you have found anything on this site that is informative, interesting or amusing you should know what these laws are about.
SOPA is a stupid acronym for the Stop Online Piracy Act. PIPA means Protect Intellectual Property Act. Both laws are designed to allow the federal government to treat this site the way the Red Chinese treat sites like this one.
The stated goals of these bills include: “To Promote prosperity, creativity, entrepreneurship, and innovation by combating the theft of U.S. Property, and for other purposes;” and, “To prevent online threats to economic creativity and theft of intellectual property, and for other purposes.”
The intellectual property rights these new laws propose to protect are already protected under an existing federal law called the Digital Millennium Copyright Act or DMCA. That law allows authors and artists to protect the kind of unique and original work that appears on this page.
SOPA and PIPA go beyond that. These new laws would create a federal Bureau of Intellectual Property Enforcement. That Bureau will have the authority to order web service providers to remove offending sites without notice. The “crimes” that will literally make sites disappear overnight include copyright infringement and being a site that “poses a threat to national security.” The new bureaucracy will also be able to shut down sites without notice for unspecified “other purposes.”
The effect of the two laws will be to create a federal department of internet censorship.
The Aging Rebel opposes these laws and urges readers to oppose them, too.