Stop Online Piracy Act
"The intention is not the same as China's Great Firewall, a nationwide system of web censorship, but the practical effect could be similar."
SOPA, also known as the "Stop Online Piracy Act", was a US bill introduced in 2011 by U.S. Representative Lamar S. Smith (R-TX) to help prevent malicious issues on the Internet, namely digital piracy and the selling of counterfeit drugs, but severely backfired due to the protection limits it could bring to freedom of speech. Various major sites like Google, YouTube (post-2013), Facebook, Twitter, eBay, Reddit, LinkedIn, Wikipedia, and Yahoo! opposed the act, rightfully viewing it as the antithesis of the First Amendment, while the big media corporations openly supported it, seeing it as their opportunity to turn everyone into a consumer whore.
Lamar Smith, a representative in the US wanted to get rid of digital piracy and all of the illegal stuff that was trending on the internet, so he proposed an act called SOPA to Congress. Throughout In October 2011, things got even worse when it was announced that SOPA is was on it's way to becoming a law in the US. After a few months of chaos and backlash, the Congress declined to use the SOPA for the new regulation of the Internet.
Why It Flopped
- Instead of basically preventing criminal practices, SOPA actually tried to take away online freedom on the Internet.
- Due to SOPA's vague wording, overly harsh penalties and unreasonable rules, it could've brought severe damage to e-commerce as well, and hundreds of thousands would be thrown in jail.
- The billing would have allowed the Department of Justice, as well as copyright holders, to seek court orders against websites outside of U.S. jurisdiction accused of enabling or facilitating piracy, meaning that any US consumer who used a foreign website would immediately give the US jurisdiction the power to take action against it. This received the most backlash because it would've made Internet usage in the US more discriminative in terms of nationality.
- Basically if a single thing violated a law, it was proposed to fully block it, no matter what.
- It would've made hosting content even more difficult, as SOPA could bypass the DMCA's "safe harbor" provision by placing the responsibility for detecting and policing copyright infringement onto the hosting website itself, and allowing websites "dedicated to theft of U.S. property" be blocked based on a single complaint.
- What was ironic is that it was trying to promote prosperity and creativity by combating theft, but instead it tried to promote censorship.
- It was clearly a plot by the corporate lobby to artificially increase their profits.
- Despite SOPA's defeat, it wouldn't be the last attempt to take away online freedom from the internet. Ajit Pai and the FCC's plans to end net neutrality have been voted in. Despite people complaining about throttling/blocking, there are only a few actions taken in by Comcast/Spectrum as of this editing. The lack of net neutrality is nicknamed "net bias".The third time was the EU's Article 13 is rising which would do a link tax and threaten creativity and fair use. And the fourth time was the applying the COPPA law on YouTube.