Stop Internet Censorship!

In the government's latest attempt to break the internet in order to "fix" it, the House Judiciary Committee is holding hearings today on SOPA (H.R. 3261, the Stop Online Privacy Act), an overly broad bill that would jeopardize entire segments of the web at the discretion of prosecutors and judges.

SOPA is a House counter-part to the PROTECT-IP Act introduced in the Senate.  The Senate version limits the websites that can be targeted to those "dedicated to infringement activities" which in itself is a broad definition.  SOPA has no such narrowing of its reach, therefore even sites with trivial amounts of copyrighted content could be subject to seizure.  

11 bipartisan members of the House signed a letter to the committee yesterday, stating in part:


"At a time of continued economic uncertainty, this legislation will result in fewer new businesses, fewer new investments, and fewer new jobs. 'Rogue websites' are no doubt a serious problem and we fully support targeted measures to shut them down. Like you, we understand the importance of combating piracy to protect the intellectual property of the American entertainment industry from copyright infringement in other parts of the world. We believe this is a serious problem that needs to be addressed."

"The SOPA as written, however, is overly broad and would cause serious and long term damage to the technology industry, one of the few bright spots in our economy. We hope you will work with the technology community to find narrow and targeted remedies against online infringers. We also stand ready to work with you and your colleagues to find a solution that protects innovation, while combating against truly 'rogue' websites."

Furthermore, blacklisting of websites for any reason sets a poor global example to tyrannical regimes such as those in China and Syria who would seek to use the U.S. censorship of websites to justify their own internet censorship.

You can read over the bill here.

You can read the ACLU's First Amendment take on the bill here.

Finally, see if your representative is a member of the Judiciary Committee here - if so, please contact them to urge them to oppose SOPA!

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