ProPublica has a nicely designed interactive list of likely SOPA and PIPA supporters in both chambers of Congress. Current TV has a cool explanation about how ProPublica’s app, dubbed SOPA Opera, determines who is a supporter and who is an opponent — pretty fantastic stuff (especially if you’re into sentiment analysis).
If you’re curious as to why there is such an uproar about the Stop Online Piracy Act and its companion in the Senate, the PROTECT IP Act, read Mat Howie’s post at MetaFilter, in which he describes a situation where he was targeted by a mistaken takedown notice under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act and nearly lost his site completely (which comes up very rosy in comparison with SOPA and PIPA).
The DMCA is imperfect law. SOPA and PIPA are downright dangerous and unnecessarily broad. Jam your representative’s and Senators’ phone lines today!
A common thread through the SOPA drama is that Congress is legislating from a position of ignorance on how the Internet works. In a column for the Guardian today, Dan Gillmor argues the opposite:
[...] What we’re seeing does not derive from any misunderstanding. Rather, I’m convinced, this concerted push to censor the internet, through measures that would fundamentally break it, stems from a very clear understanding of what’s at stake. Indeed, legislation like Sopa, or its US Senate companion, the Protect IP Act (Pipa) – and a host of activities around the world – share a common goal. These “fixes” are designed to wrest control of these tools from the masses and recentralize what has promised to be the most open means of communication and collaboration ever invented.
I’d take this one step further and posit the question: Do you think WikiLeaks could exist in a SOPA-fied world? Not a chance.
(Also: Interesting that Gillmor frames it as an attempt to recentralize the Internet. Seems like we are doing a pretty good job of that ourselves with the current generation of social networks.)
I Work for the Internet is a collection of people who rely on and build the Internet in many different and completely legal ways whose livelihood could be threatened by the Stop Online Piracy Act. If you work for the Internet, add yourself (there’s an approval process so you won’t show up right away).
I’ll have a lot more on SOPA in the coming days across my social networks and this blog because it is just that important.
It’s kind of scary that a company can get a YouTube video pulled even if they don’t have the rights to it. This is precisely the reason the Stop Online Piracy Act (better known by its acronym SOPA, an insult to Spanish-speaking soups everywhere) is potentially so scary, as it would allow companies to make a copyright claim against an entire domain and make it basically disappear. Check out some earlier discussion of this story on Google+.