SOPA Meets Massive Resistance

The backlash finally begins

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SOPA Meets Massive Resistance
[ Social Media]

The Stop Online Piracy Act, or any of its many variations, something WebProNews has discussed before, is finally meeting a great deal of resistance as various online movements, and the long-awaited push back from entities like Google, Facebook, and Mozilla have (finally?) decided to throw their own weight around.

Where do you stand concerning the Stop Online Piracy Act? Do you side with the web giants or the government? Does the power SOPA give to stop piracy go too far? Let us know what you think in the comments.

It looks like the American public is also getting wise about the consequences of such a bill to pass, as the SOPA acronym is currently the top Google Trend. One hopes this isn’t a case of too little, too late. The resistance that’s getting the most coverage has to do with the rebellious responses of a consortium of well-known — and powerful — web companies, all of which banded together to create the following letter as their opening means of disagreement.

The letter, found under the Protect Innovation TLD, is signed by the following entities:


The stance of this group is one of disapproval concerning SOPA, and the crux of their position is here, with our own emphasis added:

We support the bills’ stated goals — providing additional enforcement tools to combat foreign “rogue” websites that are dedicated to copyright infringement or counterfeiting. Unfortunately, the bills as drafted would expose law-abiding U.S. Internet and technology companies to new uncertain liabilities, private rights of action, and technology mandates that would require monitoring of web sites. We are concerned that these measures pose a serious risk to our industry’s continued track record of innovation and job-creation, as well as to our Nation’s cybersecurity. We cannot support these bills as written and ask that you consider more targeted ways to combat foreign “rogue” websites dedicated to copyright infringement and trademark counterfeiting, while preserving the innovation and dynamism that has made the Internet such an important driver of economic growth and job creation.

Essentially, these companies would like to stop piracy as well, they just don’t want it to be under the guise of “The Great Firewall of America,” which is what some entities have started calling SOPA.

The push back doesn’t stop there, however. With Mozilla, besides co-signing the letter, they also created a page that clearly states their position in relation to SOPA in its current form. The page links to an Electronic Frontier Foundation page that, in part, generates letters of opposition to whatever state representatives are applicable. The page also features valuable information about the potential harm SOPA can cause.

An example:

As drafted, the legislation would grant the government and private parties unprecedented power to interfere with the Internet’s domain name system (DNS). The government would be able to force ISPs and search engines to redirect or dump users’ attempts to reach certain websites’ URLs. In response, third parties will woo average users to alternative servers that offer access to the entire Internet (not just the newly censored U.S. version), which will create new computer security vulnerabilities as the reliability and universality of the DNS evaporates.

I urge you to continue reading.

Google, which also signed the letter of opposition, has also posted about their intentions over at their public policy blog, which includes Google copyright policy counsel Katherine Oyama testifying before the House Judiciary Committee. Oyama was scheduled to testify earlier today, and the post has a link to her written and oral testimony.

An example from the written portion explains Google’s position quite well:

We support SOPA’s stated goal of providing additional enforcement tools to combat foreign rogue websites that are dedicated to copyright infringement and counterfeiting. Unfortunately, we cannot support the bill as written, as it would expose law-abiding U.S. Internet and technology companies to new uncertain liabilities, private rights of action, and technology mandates that could require monitoring of web sites and social media. Moreover, we are concerned that the bill sets a precedent in favor of Internet censorship and could jeopardize our nation’s cybersecurity. In short, we believe the bill, as introduced, poses a serious threat to our industry’s continued track record of innovation and job-creation.

These more well-known companies are not the only voices of dissension concerning SOPA. Even Vice President Joe Biden spoke out against the spirit of the act, and although the White House clearly supports the reduction of online piracy, at least one component of the United States Government disagrees with how SOPA goes about its prevention:

Biden, apparently, is on the side of the pirates. Levity aside, while he’s not operating from the same stance as Google, Mozilla, et al, but the fact remains, a visible member of the White House has spoken out — quite articulately, I might add — about how the ideas that help give structure to SOPA are harmful and do not represent such standards like freedom and due process.

It doesn’t stop here, either. Websites all over are using “No Censorship” graphics for their logos, including such well known properties as Reddit and Boing Boing. There are a veritable avalanche of articles speaking out against SOPA as the backlash continues to build.

If you’re still wondering what all the hubbub is about, watch this video — in its entirety — and if, after finishing it, you still don’t understand why Google and their cohorts are against it, watch it again:

Remember, if you’re as against SOPA as our Internet benefactors are, there are a number of ways to speak out against it.

Are you for or against SOPA? Do you stand with the tech industry or not? Does being against SOPA mean you support online piracy? Is there no middle ground? Let us know what you think.

SOPA Meets Massive Resistance
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  • http://morganservice.net Mobile Home Repair DIY

    I for one am sick and tired of the current admin trying to take us down the path of socialism and censorship of our freedom of speech, which is what the end game of such legislative actions are doing.

    • gmlala

      It isn’t the current administration. It’s big corporations. I suggest that you educate yourself.

    • http://teleseminarlive.com webinar listings

      That is why it is an illusion that there are 2 parties that are focused on different things. If you step back the last 75 years, and see the overall pattern and how each party contributed to the slow erosion of each of us being self autonomous. If all of us focused on maintaining the Constitution, and not being against this party or that party, but being FOR the Constitution, then there is nothing the Government or Corporations can do to counteract the entire nation of citizens supporting the Constitution. As long as we allow them to keep us distracted on the ‘stupid’ stuff, we will never get a consensus on a single focus which is guaranteed to be created.

  • John Greymoon

    They pass this legislation and welcome to China…..

    • http://shop.lacompanyonline.com Rob

      I agree with this, are we now following in China’s footsteps?!? We are losing bits and bits of our freedom. Why even come out with this now?

  • Michelle

    There is already a degree of filtering in place, but this is all out.If you think I am a nut, then you have not traveled outside of this country and viewed the “news” as say, Canada receives it. We have blinders on now, and I don’t want it. I don’t want or need this sort of “help” of “protection”. I will take care of myself, and for the rest, let the free market sort it out with software systems. And it’s nonsense to pin this on the current admin., this sort of mindset was launched full force with Georgie boys. War on terrorism and all that. S***w your freedom, we are going to save you. HA. This bill needs to be killed now.

  • gmlala

    Big corporations and their minions are backing this bill. It is none of their business where I go on the web. Kill it NOW!

  • http://www.seo-theory.com/ Michael Martinez

    If the American public were REALLY getting wise about the bill, they wouldn’t fall for the propaganda that the opponents of SOPA have been spreading far and wide.

    As long people continue to support STOP SOPA they have no excuse for complaining when Google benefits from the illegal activities that other Websites engage in.

    Google’s motive in all this is clear: They are making billions of dollars in unregulated advertising and they will do everything they can to avoid being held responsible for benefitting financially from criminal activity on the Web.

  • http://www.celticcrosseng.com David T. McKee

    I think the entire idea of “Internet Censorship” is laughable. Why? Simple, because those of us who know about how internet protocols work, know how networks are built, and remember how they were historically created from radio telephone networks and telephone lines, know that we could build another internet right around the one that exists now. In fact, that kind of thing already happens. With sophisticated cipher technologies, TOR networks, etc. the idea that some lumbering leviathan government could ever do anything real about this is simply not true.

    Yes, if you want to be perceived as a law abiding citizen while governments continue to break their own laws, break moral law, and engage in draconian, evil, suppression… well, then you will have to toe the line. But then you might as well go live on a farm and give up the internet.

    If you want to engage in freedom, ideas, thinking, and being critical of those in power, well… then you better find out about these other means of getting your thoughts out there.

    My 2 cents, YMMV.
    -David T. McKee

  • Bob

    Everytime you let that government add a level of security, you sacrafice a level of freedom. Ask yourself what is more important, security or freedom and how much freedom are you willing to give up to be secure.

  • http://www.lawyer-advertising-blog.com Phil

    If it would be a problem for Google, you can imagine the weight of the problem upon a small website or even a website that’s not so small. It would be the death knell of millions of legitimate websites.

  • Larry S. Jackson

    Any time Comcast favors a bill, you can bet it’s anti-consumer. Comcast is among the corporations backing passage of SOPA.

  • Bill

    There will continue to be attempts to reign in the Internet primarily for economic and political reasons, regardless of the political party with the majority. And we must continue to repel these attempts, even though as Mr McKee points out, true censorship is highly unlikely. But the fact that they are attempting to introduce censorship tremendously offensive.

    This includes attempts by the big guys like Goggle, who want to manipulate what we are exposed to, through the use of demographics and our search patterns. How will we be exposed to fresh new ideas and perspectives if the information we receive has been pre-sifted to assure we get what fits our presumed preferences based on algorithms designed by a computer scientist somewhere.

  • Joe

    Same shit different day.

    The government touts new legislation to protect it’s people, when in fact it is a veiled attempt at achieving a greater level of control over the people they are supposed to be serving.

    It happens all the time in healthcare, it happened with GM foods, it happened with flouride in the water, it happened with the war on terror and the war on drugs, it is happeneing with nutritional supplements, it happened in Iraq, it definitely happened with bank bailouts.

    Let’s hope the American people get wise to it before it is yet another freedom down the drain.

    If not, server farms will be big business over here in Europe :-)

  • http://nlouis.com Nicholas B. Louis

    One of the many beauties of the internet is the cost – and everyone has equal access to it because of this. Actually we should not allow any restrictions to it except for protections against scammers and all other mal-utilizers. We somehow need to develop software that will enable all users to screen all attempts for malware to enter their computers and extract information, install software unknowingly, modify existing software, or do anything without the express knowledge and consent of the owner/user! Yes, I know that software exists for some of this as a start, especially the new O.S. es, but we need software that will display any file is unknowingly attempted to be installed on your computer, before it is allowed to enter
    Nicholas B. Louis, 11/16/2011

  • http://thosediet-things.com Art

    Our rights offline let alone online have been stripped. I definitely side with dumping this attack on our privacy.
    Pretty much anything the government of the US or here in Canada trys, or pushes through is not in the peoples favor.

  • http://aspiritualparadigm.com Connie Kirkpatrick

    There is no way I want government controlling what I can or cannot view on the internet. We still have Freedom of Speech in this country. This includes everyone, even those who are ugly and hateful. As a consumer it is my responsibility to make my own informed choices.

    As a minister I am against the hate mongering. But I am not God or Goddess so I am not in a position to judge.

    Sites should be responsible for a warning of content: triggers for survivors, adult only content, etc. The government if need be can monitor and enforce the laws to protect. But they are not the governing force to tell me what I can or cannot view online or in print.

    I do not have to like what others publish. But as a human rights believer I cannot interfere with another’s rights. I am responsible for informing, educating, and providing the information to inform.

    Thank you.

  • Neo

    This is easily solved. We just need a record of who voted for the passing of the bill if it happens. We will vote them out of office at the next possible opportunity and replace them with people that will rescind the bill. On some issues it is very possible to get a massive amount of people to go out and vote. This is one of them.

    Obama made it into office because we put him there against all odds. The same can be true about any elected official. They need to clearly understand that they work for us.

  • http://www.CaptainCyberzone.com CaptainCyberzone

    Many of the U.S. Governments Acts start out well “meaninged”, but bureaucracy, especially a big [over-bloated] bureaucracy always turns the original proposal into a Frankenstein.
    In this case the original intent was to protect intellectual property but here too it’s been Frankensteined into insanity (considering that out of malice I could shut-down, for a long period of time, an entire site (even Google) by “claiming” infringement.
    In most cases when Government gets involved with private matters they screw it up. Look at the “School Lunch Program” … it was intented to feed starving children … now we have an over-weight, child diabetic problem.
    Just say, “No” to Big Government.

    • intell

      The school lunch program didn’t make children obese and diabetic. It was bringing in the fast food franchises and the poor quality of food that has been genetically modified and the high content of high fructose corn syrup, MSG and other food types that the body has a hard time processing to that is causing this epidemic.

  • Greg

    If the USA continues with it’s bully tactics which it is famous for (any wonder why most of the World is pissed off at US policies and not the people) there will be even more of a backlash than what was seen during the 911 censorship, the FBI fiasco with the leaked US communications and the blatant greed driven policies in the middle east.

    Hopefully the population of the US will start to recognize that even though corporations need to protect their investment it does not mean protectionist tactics are valid. Time and time again the rest of the world sees this bully like behavior and the arrogance associated with it.

    Maybe the world would be more impressed if any collection of funds was based on minimal lawyers fees and 50% of the funds collected going to clean water and food projects.

    The good news is more and more of today’s artists are finding better, cheaper and more ethical ways of distributing their material.

    Rampant stealing of material is of course a problem but maybe it is time for the industries affected to rethink their business model. Look at the demise of music stores and video rentals etc …. but books keep on trucking …..

  • http://www.alda-architects.co.uk Alan

    Sometimes the cure is worse than the disease.

    I have often wondered just how much downloading actually influences purchasing decisions. It can work two ways. Would someone who has downloaded a film that they like then not then go and see it in a cinema or perhaps purchase a copy for someone as a Christmas present?

    There is also a limit to the amount any individual has to spend on music and entertainment so no matter how you try to control distribution that limit will not be exceeded and if youths do not download they will copy at home from friends as they have been doing since the 60’s.

    In any case the censorship is unlikely to work. There are ways of circumventing the restrictions and these are likely to increase in sophistication.

    It will have a severe impact on many well known sites, that help make the internet more accessible. There has to be a better and more targeted approach. This is a sledge hammer when what is needed is a scalpel.

  • http://www.serenityranch.ca Serenity Ranch

    Though well meaning I am sure this law is a nightmare in the works. I hope they get a clue and scrap it. The internet belongs to the people of the world not the US corporate interest.

  • Tom

    The next biggest marketable industry? – Hacking!

  • http://www.photographypix.wordpress.com Gio photography

    I am against this.. but it doesnt mean i support online piracy.

  • burt

    No way. Don’t let the US government sticks its fingers into the internet. They screwed up social security, the post office, and are only looking to get a toe hold on the internet. Then the taxes will start. Piracy needs to be investigated, not regulated by bureaucrats.

  • http://www.positiveaffirmationslist.com positive affirmations by Richard

    Bills designed to remove freedoms are always given a title to deceive those signing it and to fill the minds of the public with propaganda concepts that of course are not recognized as being propaganda. This bill needs to be defeated and people need to recognize they are being duped and rise up against this before we lose all of our freedoms.

  • sfd

    US can’t be another China!

  • Jerry

    Perhaps a symilar law should be passed for false copyright claims. Five years in jail for making a false claim against a website and entire websites taken down of corporations that make a false copyright claim. It could also seriously backfire if a hollywood film is accused of copyright breach.

  • http://www.angrybats.com Wholesale gadgets

    Any time Comcast favors a bill, you can bet it’s anti-consumer

    US can’t be another China!

  • PSdesign

    Piracy needs to be stopped, but not at the cost of freedom of speech,
    internet research, or communication between organizations, companies, individuals, or countries.

    Find ways to attack the pirates, not the innocent.

  • dany catalin

    too many rules and regulations mean as many ways of losing our liberties.
    what has become the democracy?
    why government(s) try to regulate the last area of true democracy?
    do they feel threatened?
    is the internet a governmental business/proprety?
    the only answer i can come up with is a great NO.
    then why this strive to regulate it?
    is this another big scam?
    are we all the internet users potential terrorists?
    one must read the bill of rights.
    you will find answers.
    good luck to you all!

  • pizdo

    SOPA is funny on so many levels, i agree with banning piracy but giving 3rd party the ability to control what you say well why not ban TV, Print media, Radio they all exhibit the same protocol as piracy dont they? personal funny videos with music playing in the back ground, news papers with other company logos. Really a stupid law bring on the hackers, this will really be an event hackers against gov i bet i know who would win. Also free networks are slowly expanding over the world peope hosting nodes to pass free internet. good work US congress screw the economy and loos the internet, good thing i dont live there, sorry for the people that do.

  • http://catholicopinions.com Alex Majthenyi

    Many of us have spent countless hours and dollars developing websites, we don’t like copyright infringement but if it originates in the US we can use the legal system to stop it.
    We do not want more regulations, unfounded law suits, and technology mandates.
    We do not want government censorship!

  • ilbback

    Once again, legislators demonstrating how badly they can serve the country by interfering with free commerce and communication. Once Skynet is in place, are the terminators going to show up, too? So much for free market capitalism. The idea is to go after the scofflaws, not make them into heroes of the resistance. Maybe if we hold recall elections for the congressmen responsible for this stupid bill, they’ll get the message. Censorship is the way to hold a country hostage to the selfishness of a few. The needs of the many outweigh the needs of a few. Strike down this law, because it does ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to create jobs.

  • http://www.ibacklinkpro.com iBacklinkPRO

    How is this thing any different from total control of China or Iran. This is the kind of thing that would make Hitler smile!!! Free yeah right… free as long as you follow their rules and bow down and worship them.

  • http://www.r-evolution.tv/ Robbert

    if these things continue to happen without the public stepping up we may not be FREE anymore for much longer! I am amazed at how many people are still sleeping through all these things, thinking, no believing that governments all have the best interest in us….B…S..T! Wake up people and fight for our TRUE rights!

  • http://www.lipu-china.com fine crusher

    If all of us focused on maintaining the Constitution, and not being against this party or that party, but being FOR the Constitution, then there is nothing the Government or Corporations can do to counteract the entire nation of citizens supporting the Constitution.

  • http://www.lipu-china.com fine crusher

    I am against this.. but it doesnt mean i support online piracy.

  • https://www.blacklogic.com/ Cheap VPN Service

    You have brought up very fantastic points, thank you for the post.

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