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Excellent comment. Any appeal to Congress that disrespects the value of copyright will not fly because, as the general public sees it, it is a serious problem when people have the value of their creative efforts diminished as they are spread across the web without compensation. The DMCA was never intended to protect infringers. It was designed to ensure that ISPs did not get caught in the cross-fire as copyright holders sought to protect their interests against those who did infringe. To do that, the ISPs had to abide by certain rules aimed at protecting copyright holders and their reward for doing this was to get "safe harbor" protection that shielded them from liability for the infringements that did occur on their sites. SOPA seeks to rip those protections away by effectively removing that shield. It also allows for what amounts to the creation of blacklists that will force search engines to ban allegedly transgressing sites from public view. All in all, then, it gives to the copyright holders (and to the Justice Department) a set of tools that will enable them to attack the websites directly for the infringements of others. In essence, this flips the DMCA on its head. Whereas DMCA nurtured the growth of the web by shielding innocent conveyers of information from liability as long as they played by the rules, SOPA (should it pass) will inhibit any such growth going forward by giving lawsuits and legal proceedings a central place in the copyright enforcement scheme across the web. This is why fledgling startups will be vulnerable to getting killed off before they can realize their potential: the copyright police will be there to shut them down before they can even develop proper systems for SOPA-style compliance. In other words, the issues here concern primarily the burden of litigation and whether, as a matter of public policy, people who have legitimate rights (copyright holders) should be given broad latitude to sue intermediate parties over what usually are infringements or whether they should be restricted in their right to impose liability on such intermediate parties, thereby giving such parties the room to breathe and to grow as companies and to further the information goals of the web itself. This is an important policy debate, and the people on the other side of it are not innately evil in arguing their case. I think they are wrong, very wrong, and that the consequences of what they are trying to do will be highly detrimental, as a matter of policy, to the future growth of the web. But it is important that the opposition to this not be centered on ad hominem attacks. That only detracts from the strength of the case to be made for internet freedom and growth and does indeed allow the opposition to dismiss bona fide complaints by casting SOPA opponents as people who are not focused rightly on the serious issues involved in this debate.



This is a great summary of the core issues with this. If you or someone else writes this up in an easy to digest fashion for laymen, I (and I'm sure others) would be happy to link to it on our websites. I'm currently linking here: http://fightforthefuture.org/pipa/ , but if that can be improved upon with less of an occupy-sounding slant, I'd love to support it.


Wall of text... could you try adding paragraph breaks?




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