Dude, where’s my blog?
The intention of the bills is to stop the piracy of copyrighted material, (e.g. movies, music, photography), mostly by companies based in foreign countries. Sounds good, right?
The problem with these well-intention bills is that enforcement goes too far, veering into censorship. The Orange County Register editorial sums up the problem with the way SOPA goes about stopping piracy:
Unfortunately, it does so by giving the government, and even private companies, vast new authority to shut down websites considered objectionable — without a court hearing or trial. According to Wikipedia, SOPA “would authorize the U.S. Department of Justice to seek court orders against websites outside U.S. jurisdiction accused of infringing on copyrights, or of enabling or facilitating copyright infringement.” The U.S. attorney general then could ban search engines, such as Google, from displaying links to the sites; and “could require U.S.-directed Internet service providers, ad networks and payment processors to suspend doing business” with the targeted websites.
The House has already stopped its consideration of SOPA. However, the Senate will vote on cloture for PIPA January 24 .