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.)