Every time Congress meets, and with every bit of legislation they pass, the American people lose a little more of their freedom. Regardless of who controls it, BTW...
Proponents of SOPA say it is a necessity in the cyber-age, a must-have to protect intellectual copyright. Taking a broad look at the proposal, we can see the vagueness written into it, like a huge black hole between the lines - a hole where our usage of the internet as we know it will almost certainly disappear. As will our freedom, and our identity as a nation. From the one page of Wikipedia that is up today:
The originally proposed bill would allow the U.S. Department of Justice, as well as copyright holders, to seek court orders against websites accused of enabling or facilitating copyright infringement. Depending on who makes the request, the court order could include barring online advertising networks and payment facilitators from doing business with the allegedly infringing website, barring search engines from linking to such sites, and requiring Internet service providers to block access to such sites. The bill would make unauthorized streaming of copyrighted content a crime, with a maximum penalty of five years in prison for ten such infringements within six months. The bill also gives immunity to Internet services that voluntarily take action against websites dedicated to infringement, while making liable for damages any copyright holder who knowingly misrepresents that a website is dedicated to infringement.
How far can this be stretched? As far as the government wants it. And that remains true no matter who is in charge.
Over at Ricochet, Daniel Frank asks an interesting question:
As PIPA and SOPA make their way through the cloaca of the legislative process, I pause to wonder why Congress is only interested in protecting private property when it belongs to Hollywood studios, media companies, and publishing houses? What about the property rights of the Chrysler bondholders, or of property owners brushed aside by eminent domain, or the small businessperson shaken down by lawyers wielding Federal private action statutes?
Those rights, once enshrined in law, have now become arbitrary. And arbitrary law is the hallmark of the banana republic. Frank quotes Duke Economists Mike Munger:
Federal IP protection statutes are entirely motivated by and written for the benefit of rent seeking corporations. Congressmen and Senators don't care about private property. They care about the cash and in-kind contributions of entertainment and media companies, and in return for those contributions they will eviscerate your First Amendment rights without a moment's hesitation.
SOPA/PIPA must die, so that this nation may continue to live. Go to the above Wikipedia link and read it all.
And for historical posterity, should the bill pass, I wish to post what I believe will be the biggest lie of this entire debate:
An aide to Rep. Lamar Smith (R) said, "This bill does not make it a felony for a person to post a video on YouTube of their children singing to a copyrighted song. The bill specifically targets websites dedicated to illegal or infringing activity. Sites that host user content—like YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter—have nothing to be concerned about under this legislation.
Bullshit. And can we get a primary challenger to this guy, please?