Wednesday, August 28, 2013

SOPA Is Back 2013

(Image via Flickr user banky177)

The demise of the infamous Stop Online Piracy Act, a 2012 legislative proposal to severely restrict online content sharing died a well-deserved death due to a concerted effort by Americans to quash that monstrosity.

Content providers and sharers such as Wikipedia and YouTube blacked out their websites in protest, and thousands of citizens called or emailed their members of Congress. Finally President Obama came out against SOPA, as did lawmakers on the left and right (who normally don't agree on anything), and the bill was stopped.

One of the first shots fired took place on the White House site, "We the People", to demand SOPA be shut down. That most likely didn't have much of an effect on SOPA but it helped kick start We the People, which was only a few months old at the time.

Potential laws that are popular with citizens, and may even make their lives better, often die a quick death and are never heard of again.  However, laws back by the infamous entertainment industry keep popping back up because their initiatives to quash free speech come with the power of campaign contributions.  So, you guessed it, a key element of SOPA is back in a report from the Commerce Department’s Internet Policy Task Force and the protesters are back on We the People. A petition to Stop SOPA 2013 has received more than 88,000 signatures since it was posted Thursday and is well on its way to acquiring the 100,000 signatures necessary for an official White House response.

The Commerce proposal would make it a felony..yes, a felony to stream copyrighted works without permission.  Parodies and homage music videos that clog the pores of YouTube might be included in that, and could ensnare even other music artists in its dragnet, such as Justin Bieber.

In response to a similar proposal in legislation by Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., the teen heart throb said the senator should be “put away in cuffs.”  Frankly, I agree with him.

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