“SOPA targets only foreign Web sites that are primarily dedicated to illegal and infringing activity. Domestic Web sites, like blogs, are not covered by this legislation” ~ Lamar Smith, Chairman of House Judiciary Committee, letter to New York Times.
The problem is not everyone believes him. The Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) is picking up increasing counter-attacks from website designers, website administrators and business owners who rely on the Internet to display and share information.
According to Mr. Lamar there are more than 120 groups and associations, including the United States Chamber of Commerce, that now support the new pending bill.
“We need to examine the real motives of the ‘big Internet guys,’ like Google, that oppose SOPA,” said Mr. Lamar.
“Google made huge profits by directing consumers to illegal foreign Web sites, so its opposition is self-serving. In fact, Google recently paid half a billion dollars to settle a criminal investigation because of its promotion of foreign pharmacies that sold counterfeit and illegal drugs to American patients, possibly endangering their health. “
The goal of SOPA is to protect against the illegal theft of American intellectual property and the counterfeiting of goods, including the pharmacy drugs mentioned above.
To Libertarians, the act smacks of more, unnecessary regulation that will not only stifle the exponential power and value of the Internet but will ultimately hurt small business which have been identified as a critical driver in helping the United States emerge from the worst recession in decades.
The legislation is seen to have bipartisan support in the U.S. government, even as Democrats and Republicans engage in ‘class-warfare’ as the upcoming Presidential elections draw nearer. This means there is a strong possibility SOPA will become law.
According to the Washington Post, piracy costs the U.S. movie industry about $21 billion per year. Others, however, believe the number is inflated and may be around $446 million per year. Basically, piracy is a problem but the question is whether more regulation is the answer?
Those opposed, including law professors and tech companies believe the new bill shouts down free speech and will destroy the best features of the Internet.
“At a basic level, SOPA — and its Senate analogue, the Protect IP Act — would enable copyright holders and the Justice Department to get court orders against sites that “engage in, enable, or facilitate” copyright infringement,” said The Washington Post.
Thus, SOPA could force Google to stop listing those companies that host illegal mp3s. Those on the side of ‘freedom’ believe the bill has many similarities to how China is censoring its citizens (and foreign companies like Google).
In fact the bill has become such a hot potato that a Boycott SOPA app has been developed for the Android market.
“This app will help you avoid SOPA supporting products to show your displeasure with the bill and help get it voted down! Read more about SOPA here,” said the app-makers.
A bar code scanner will allow you to detect companies that support SOPA, either directly or indirectly. The makers claim that over 800 brands/companies have been identified as being affiliated with SOPA.
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