What Does SOPA Mean for You?

A List Apart (among many other organizations and publications) has come out against SOPA, or the Stop Online Piracy Act. The bill proposed in the US House of Representatives is meant to make it easier to prosecute piracy of intellectual property. But the proposed law would allow corporations to take down any site considered to be violating one of their copyrights. (A member of the House described its potential passage as “the end of the internet as we know it.”)

Certainly, it makes sense to make it easier for people to protect their copywritten works, Jeffrey Zeldman writes at A List Apart. But “SOPA approaches the piracy problem with a broad brush, lights that brush on fire, and soaks the whole internet in gasoline.”

The internet is at arms. Tumblr created an action form to call your representative. A New York Times op-ed says: “The intention is not the same as China’s Great Firewall, a nationwide system of Web censorship, but the practical effect could be similar.” (If you’re not familiar, here’s the wiki.)

Here are a few articles to peruse if you want to learn more about SOPA and how to fight it:

You can read the full text of the bill here. (I appreciate the fact that the PDF’s typography looks like it’s straight outta 1899.) And here’s the final word, from Steven Colbert: