Tomorrow the House Judiciary Committee will vote on HR 3261, the Stop Online Piracy Act, which would give intellectual property right holders and the Department of Justice new weapons to use against websites that host infringing content.
The legislation is supported by companies relying on intellectual property and their trade associations, but it is opposed by a wide array of other interests, including internet service providers, advocates of free speech, consumer groups, and copyright experts. The bill would lead to censorship and greater monitoring of people’s internet use, which a majority of Americans oppose.
A survey of SOPA warnings and criticisms follows.
Opposition from American public
A recent survey by Joe Karaganis at Columbia University found that “Solid majorities of American internet users oppose copyright enforcement when it is perceived to intrude on personal rights and freedoms. 69% oppose monitoring of their internet activity for the purposes of enforcement. 57% oppose blocking or filtering by commercial intermediaries if those measures also block some legal content or activity.”
Opposition from businesses
The founders of Google, Netscape, Firefox, Twitter, Flickr, Yahoo!, LinkedIn, Huffington Post, YouTube, Internet Archive, PayPal, Craigslist, eBay, Wikipedia, and Blogger have run a full page ad in most major newpapers warning that SOPA threatens to “require webservices… to monitor what users link to or upload. This would have a chilling effect on innovation; deny website owners the right to due process of law; Give the U.S. government the power to cnesor the web using technologies similar to those used by Chinak Malaysia and Iran; and Undermine security online by changing the basic structure of the internet.”