Today marks a monumental event in the evolution of the free-internet threatening bills also known as SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act) and PIPA (Protest IP Act), as major sites including Wikipedia and Google take their stand.
Today is the first day of the so-called “internet blackout” protest. Both bills aim to strengthen the protection against copyright infringement, however experts acknowledge that it would essentially cripple the infrastructure of the internet and take away the free-expression the internet offers.
Below is a look at the top 3 major points for both bills:
SOPA – Currently in the House
• Gives the government extensive power over websites. The Attorney General of the United States will be given the ability to bring down any and all websites that are believed to include copyright infringed data.
• Gives individuals power to silence speech online. What this means is that individuals and companies can petition another website for suspected copyright infringement, even though there does not need to be any legal evidence to support such work. That said, what is to say that a competitor will not petition a website to bring them down?
• Vague laws. The proposed bill targets any and all sites and has no major guidelines and parameters. Imagine a feeding frenzy in a pool of sharks attacking one another over suspicion.
PIPA – Currently in the Senate
• Very similar to SOPA in that it gives the United States Government and copyright holders the ability to deny access to rogue websites.
• This bill is a re-write of the Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act that failed to pass in 2010.
• Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) announced that he is changing DNS provisions of the act, meaning domain name systems will no longer be able to be blocked through government oversight.
PIPA received bipartisan support in the United States Senate and is scheduled to take a vote on the legislation on January 24, 2012.
SOPA vote has not officially been scheduled as of yet, although it is expected to be some time in February, 2012.