Why SOPA/PIPA are bad for the internet

SOPA(stop online piracy act)/PIPA(protect intellectual property act)

Main Issues

     1:  they place all of the power in the hands of the copyright holders

     2:  they are overly harsh to consumers and small online businesses

     3:  they use overly vague wording intended to make its application as flexible as poossible.

Issue 1: 

     Copyright holders would gain too much power from these bills. Under current laws when a takedown notice is sent to the infringing content holder and the service provider, the infringing person is informed before the takedown has occurred so that they have the opportunity to respond to the accusation. Under sopa and pipa the service provider would be informed and forced to remove the content but the person or website does not need to be informed beforehand. If your service provider fails to remove your “infringing” content the copyright holder can then take YOU to court, before you are even notified of the suspicion. Or if you are notified and respond, claiming that you are not infringing, you are then responsible for a perjury charge if it is determined that you are responsible for the infringement.

Issue 2:

     These bills are intended to punish consumers and websites severely. Under these laws a copyright holder could file a claim and, without any input from law enforcement, force any website to suspend that content. Search engines would have to remove links to the offending webpage. Payment handlers and even add providers must cease their work with the website. For many people the way they navigate the internet is through search engines and much of the traffic to a website is because of these tools, under laws similar to SOPA all it would take is a simple request, whether true or not, for a site to be unlisted from these search engines, severely cutting down on traffic to the site and effectively stopping the business. While this is a good thing if the website’s main purpose is to distribute illegal material in practice many copyright claims are false and this could lead to many smaller websites being cut down entirely because of unpopular views. These laws also protect the copyright holder from paying for the damages a claim might have caused even if the claim is false. Under the current system, the DMCA(digital millennium copyright act) the take down requests are available to the alleged infringer so that they may respond, unfortunately these are often abused, these new laws would expand the harm to those who aren’t guilty without really increasing the damage to those who are.

Issue 3:

    These bills use of overly broad wording allowing for easy abuse of the system. These bills  attack websites just for “facilitating” copyright infringement. This could be something as small as a person commenting with a link to something that potentially infringes, this makes websites like facebook responsible for everything its users say. This is especially unfair to small websites since they do not have the resources to defend themselves. The wording also makes it VERY hard not to fit the description of an infringing site, given that all you have to do is allow user generated content and suddenly you are a facilitator.

Bills like sopa and pipa give all the power to copyright holders by not even informing a website that they are infringing; these bills are overly harsh to websites by removing links to them on the first hint of suspicion; they also use vague wording that make it hard for websites not to be considered infringing


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