17 January 2012

What is SOPA/PIPA?

The Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), also known as H.R. 3261 is a bill that was introduced in the United States House of Representatives on October 26, 2011. The bill would allow the U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ), as well as copyright holders, to seek court orders against websites accused of enabling or facilitating copyright infringement.*
Similar to SOPA, the PROTECT IP Act or S.968, (PIPA) establishes a system for taking down websites that the DoJ determines to be "dedicated to infringing activities." In some cases, action could be taken to block sites without first allowing the alleged infringer to defend themselves in court.**

As artists, inventors, educators, writers, creators, and dedicated citizens, we believe in the importance of protecting individuals' intellectual property, but these bills are too broad and go far beyond addressing issues of internet piracy. If passed, they will infringe on First Amendment rights, enable Internet censorship, weaken Internet security, destroy jobs and cripple the Internet.

Open letters in protest of SOPA/PIPA have been written to Congress from some of the most influential and important members of the internet community including the founders of Google, Twitter, Flickr, Yahoo!, The Huffington Post, LinkedIn, Youtube, Paypal, Craigslist, eBay, Wikipedia, Blogger, and a group of eighty-three engineers instrumental in the creation of the internet, to name a few.

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