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Sopa And Pipa

January 17, 2012 by staff 

Sopa And PipaSopa And Pipa, A number of websites announced they will effectively shut down for 12 to 24 hours on Wednesday to protest two laws Congress is considering. The House of Representatives are considering a bill called the Stop Online Piracy Act, H.R. 3261, while the Senate is drafting the Protect IP Act. Both have the support of the record companies and Hollywood studios. They allege web piracy is harming their business and is costing their employees their jobs.

Web companies, though, worry the laws will harm free speech. The White House also said it does not support the bill, although the President did not say he plans on vetoing it.

So what do the bills say, exactly?

SOPA, which is practically identical to its Senate counterpart, is described as a bill “to promote prosperity, creativity, entrepreneurship, and innovation by combating the theft of US property, and for other purposes.”

To do that, the bill authorizes the Department of Justice and the Attorney General to seek court orders against any websites outside the U.S. accused of infringing on various copyrights, like songs, movies or TV shows. The Attorney General could also keep search engines, like Google or Bing, from showing links to those sites.

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas), who strongly supports SOPA, said in a prepared statement about the bill, “The Stop Online Piracy Act helps stop the flow of revenue to rogue websites and ensures that the profits from American innovations go to American innovators.”

But SOPA is not without it’s opponents. Websites like Reddit, the Cheezburger Network, Wikipedia and Craigslist all said they cease operations for most of the day Wednesday, and encourage their regular visitors to contact their Congressmen to vote it down. Google has also expressed opposition.

Their concerns are that SOPA and PIPA will infringe on the First Ammendment. According to an open letter from Harvard Law professor Laurence Tribe, SOPA will “undermine the openness and free exchange of information at the heart of the Internet. And it would violate the First Amendment.”

I’ve contacted Congressman Mike Pompeo’s office for his opinion about the bill. A representative has not responded to this request yet.

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