Updated: All four remaining GOP candidates oppose these bills. The loser, John McCain joins Al Frankin in supporting this idiot bill. The bills' advocates, including media companies, movie studios, book publishers and music recording companies, say granting U.S. attorneys general and copyright holders more power to enforce punitive actions against rogue websites would save jobs, ensure consumer safety and increase revenues. In fact, "granting . . . . more power" is a gross understatement. In fact, it gives the big corporate money making machines the power to shut down websites without anything resembling "due process," and without legal appeal -- talk about "punitive actions" !!! This is way over the top.
This law is the beginning of the loss of freedom on the web. Some argue, "The web is not the Wild Wild West," while others respond by pointing to the host of patient and copyright laws already on the books. This is not about protecting "intellectual property." Not at all. As argued above, we already have laws on the books for that reason. Instead, this is about saving money in legal fees, and how is this done? Simple. Just give Big Money the legal power to shut your site down without notice and without stated cause (to the owners). Sounds crazy ?? This very thing was done, on Wednesday. The government had Megaupload without notice, without a path to resolution. Now, of course will say, "We gave them plenty of warning." But that is not the issue. The issue lies in the fact that in tradition circumstances, we get a court order and then we act. Apparently folks like me are now "wacko's" for believing in a court ordered process. Anyway, this is the problem.
In time, the law will be used to shut down political sites. This is nothing less than a back-door to "net neutrality" in terms of its ultimate effect. Midknight Review, the small potatoes Midknight Review, joined the monster world of the Web in going on strike, last Wednesday. It cost me about a 1,000 hits that day and nearly that much yesterday (today is great, btw) but the cost was well worth the effort.
Hapless Harry Reid has withdrawn the bill from Senate consideration, a clear sign that he no longer has the support to cram this bill through that house, as is his custom.
Here is the original overview of the legislative issue:
The question is, "Was the strike worth while. Did it accomplish a great good?" There are two bills being floated in congress. They are known as SOPA and PIPA. They are being sponsored under the banner of protecting authors and song writers. Fine. But each opens the doorway to abuse by the government. Upon receiving a complaint concerning a particular website, the feds can simply flip a switch and shut the website down, all without a hearing or any way to challenge the complaint. We already know that Obama believes that speech should be regulated for accuracy. Of course, any criticism of his agenda would be considered "inaccurate." Can you see where we are going, with this?
Understand that this bill, these bills, have brought conservative and liberal bloggers, alike, together. A surprise to me, but a pleasant one. What is distressing, is that these bills have been sponsored by so many Republicans including the likes of Jim DeMent, Marsha Blackburn and Marco Rubio on the conservative side, Lisa Murkowski and Olympia Snow, on the more liberal side (all five are Republican Senators).
After the media strike, today, here is a list of co-sponsors who have backed away from their sponsorship (18 so far):
Kelly Ayotte (R-NH)
Marsha blackburn (R-TN)
Marsha blackburn (R-TN)
Roy Blunt (R-MO)
John Boozman (R-AR)
Scott Brown (R-MA)
Ben Cardin (D-MD)
Tom Coburn (R-OK)
John Cornyn (R-TX)
Jim DeMint (R-SC)
Orrin Hatch (R-UT)
James Inhofe (R-OK)
Mike Johanns (R-NE).
Mark Kirk (R-IL)
Jeff Merkley (D-OR)
Lisa Murkowski (R-AK)
Marco Rubio (R-FL)
Olympia Snowe (R-ME)
Pat Toomey (R-PA)
"The partisan slant of the defections is surprising because copyright has not traditionally been considered a partisan issue. Before Wednesday's protests, PIPA had 16 Republican co-sponsors and 23 Democratic ones. The bill lost a quarter of its Republican sponsors on Wednesday, while we know of only one Democrat, Ben Cardin (D-MD), who dropped his support." (see notes below)
Turns out, the strike has caused the congress to delay its decision with the promise of working on the bill.
I am proud to have taken part in this matter, as small time as my site is. But the big boys were the movers and shakers: Google, Wikipedia, Facebook and nearly 9,000 big name sites.
This is not just about us bloggers. It is about freedom of speech and the publics right to know. When you give a central government the ability to act poorly, sooner or later, it will.
Please do a little research and write your congress representatives.
1. This source site will get you started with PIPA:
http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/news/2012/01/pipa-support-collapses-with-13-new-opponents-in-senate.ars Factual information came from this source.
2. Use this site for info on SOPA: http://gizmodo.com/5877000/what-is-sopa
From the source site, above, we have this summary of the problematic issue embedded in this new [proposed] law: Here's the other thing: Payment processors or content providers like Visa or YouTube don't even need a letter shut off a site's resources. The bill's "vigilante" provision gives broad immunity to any provider who proactively shutters sites it considers to be infringers. Which means the MPAA just needs to publicize one list of infringing sites to get those sites blacklisted from the internet.
Potential for abuse is rampant. As Public Knowledge points out, Google could easily take it upon itself to delist every viral video site on the internet with a "good faith belief" that they're hosting copyrighted material.