SOPA and why a Lebanese should care
SOPA is a bill that was introduced in the United States House of Representatives on October 26, 2011.
If passed the bill would authorize the U.S. Department of Justice to seek court orders against websites outside U.S. jurisdiction accused of infringing on copyrights, or of enabling or facilitating copyright infringement. After delivering a court order, the U.S. Attorney General could require US-directed Internet service providers, ad networks, and payment processors to suspend doing business with sites found to infringe on federal criminal intellectual property laws. The Attorney General could also bar search engines from displaying links to the sites.
The bill would require websites to police their user generated content and it provides immunity from liability to the ad and payment networks that comply with this Act or that take voluntary action to cut ties to such sites.
Here is one really nice and awesome video that puts it all into perspective with cool animation and all. This video really explains why SOPA is no good.
Who is against SOPA ? just the pirates, right ?
Actually all major tech and internet companies, tons of legislators, smart content providers like Tim O’Reilly and almost every activist is against SOPA.
To name a few companies : EFF, Google, Facebook, twitter, Wikipedia, tumblr, Yahoo!, paypal, LinkedIn, Kaspersky, foursquare, Huffingtonpost, Github, Stackexchange, Quora, , Techcrunch, eBay, AOL… and more
There is also a nice website on Members of Congress Stand on SOPA and PIPA that details each member stand, how much money they got and all the nice corrupty stuff you’d want to read about.
My favorite quotes on the topic
“The fact is that this legislation as written won’t stop piracy. But it would pose a serious threat to social media and user generated content sites (like YouTube) across the internet. It could also undermine some of the core technical systems underlying the internet, creating new cybersecurity risks.
“As a non-profit committed to keeping the web open and accessible to all, Mozilla wants to ensure that this legislation does not jeopardize the foundational structure of the Internet.”
O’Reilly on Google+ account
The solution to piracy must be a market solution, not a government intervention, especially not one as ill-targeted as SOPA and PIPA.
Policies designed to protect industry players who are unwilling or unable to address unmet market needs are always bad policies. They retard the growth of new business models, and prop up inefficient companies. But in the end, they don’t even help the companies they try to protect. Because those companies are trying to preserve old business models and pricing power rather than trying to reach new customers, they ultimately cede the market not to pirates but to legitimate players who have more fully embraced the new opportunity. We’ve already seen this story play out in the success of Apple and Amazon. While the existing music companies were focused on fighting file sharing, Apple went on to provide a compelling new way to buy and enjoy music, and became the largest music retailer in the world. While book publishers have been fighting the imagined threat of piracy, Amazon, not pirates, has become the biggest threat to their business by offering authors an alternative way to reach the market without recourse to their former gatekeepers.
Nothing wiser could have been said !
Why, should I, a Lebanese care ?
Being a lebanese, doesn’t stop you from being an internet user – the SOPA will affect the internet in a bad way and it involves websites outside the US, and that’s yours.
SOPA punishes people who enable or facilitate copyright infringement and that’s proxies, TOR, anonymity tools – that would be punishing the same people and banning the same tools Lebanese, arabs and activists use worldwide against censorship.
Altering and having such a deeper control over the internet in the united states will create the possibility of black hole – where content from the “outside” may not be able to penetrate internet blockade because not only the site address , but also search engine, payment and everything around it will be blocked – other countries are likely to follow the lead in legislation – and in a gloomy scenario we no longer have an “open internet”.
You should care and be pissed of, because, like it or not, the internet doesn’t exist in the clouds, it is made of companies that exist in countries and have to answer to local laws despite the fact that internet is “global”. This fact is making people worldwide care about the SOPA legislation – and even though you may feel powerless, you still should care and take online action – because all citizens in cyberspace are created equal and so their actions resonate equally :)
What can I do ? what are actions being taken ?
Websites worldwide are protesting SOPA by blacking out their sites on January 18, Wikipedia and Reddit are leading the way as well as tons of activists and bloggers who will be blacking out their sites.
The Easiest way to join the SOPA protests
The following will present a blackout banner when users visit your site, which can be circumvented by clicking anywhere:
The following will blackout an element of a specific id:
Should you need more help in taking action and blacking out your site,specially if you are not a techy, do not hesitate to ask
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