SOPA and PIPA - Internet Killers
The Congressional bill Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the Senate bill Protect IP Act (PIPA) are two bills that would essentially censor the web. Think China, except for copyrighted materials, not political dissent.
The Motion Picture Association of America is one of the big backers of these bills. According to them, all this infringement going on of their materials is costing thousands of jobs.
We've all heard this before. Pirated songs are taking money away from artists. In all fairness, someone who makes a product ought to get paid for it, but we all know it's not the artist who are losing money on this deal. That's a whole 'nother discussion.
To give examples that affect just about everybody: What about a video of you/your kids/your niece singing a song? A copyrighted song? Or a video of you playing a song on your instrument? Or an image you scanned from a book you own? Better not put that up on Youtube or your blog or Facebook or anywhere because that could be considered "infringement" as far as SOPA and PIPA are concerned. And that suspicion of infringement is all that's needed to get you in trouble with the law.
And that doesn't even cover the part where it just outright breaks the internet.
According to Rebecca MacKinnon of the NYT:
The bills would empower the attorney general to create a blacklist of sites to be blocked by Internet service providers, search engines, payment providers and advertising networks, all without a court hearing or a trial. The House version goes further, allowing private companies to sue service providers for even briefly and unknowingly hosting content that infringes on copyright -- a sharp change from current law, which protects the service providers from civil liability if they remove the problematic content immediately upon notification.
SOPA is still in committee and Nancy Pelosi has come out against it, but PIPA is ready to go to the Senate floor. Conyers (D-MI) is one of the co-sponsers which is pretty disappointing. Senator Wyden (D-OR) has promised to filibuster this bill by reading out the names of everyone who signs the petition against it. I think that's awesome. I wish our representatives had a little more Mr. Smith Goes to Washington in them.