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Why We Must Stop SOPA

From LewRockwell.com, regarding the hideous, evil Stop Online Piracy Act, aka SOPA. The article’s only shortcoming is its failure to identify and condemn the root cause of the steam behind SOPA: the idea of copyright, that copyright is legitimate. Once the idea of copyright is accepted as legitimate, then copying, using information–learning, emulating, remixing, competing–becomes thought of as a tort or crime. The word “piracy” is used to condemn what is a peaceful activity. This gives the state the excuse to increase the surveillance state in order to stop “crime.” The problem is not SOPA. The problem is copyright. If you accept the logic behind copyright, your only opposition to measures like SOPA is the tepid complaint that the anti-piracy measures go “too far.” You end up buying into the unprincipled, utilitarian logic of the state, where freedom of communication has to be balanced against–and sacrificed for–“security” of private property rights (copyright). The only meaningful way to oppose police state-supporting measures like SOPA is to oppose copyright, loudly and clearly.

Here’s the LRC blurbl and post:

Stop SOPA Now
The end of free speech on the internet is the dream of every tyrannical government on earth, including ours.

Why We Must Stop SOPA

End of the American Dream

Right now, there are two pieces of legislation in Congress that would change the Internet forever if they are enacted. The Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the Protect Intellectual Property Act (PIPA) would give the federal government the ability to potentially shut down millions of websites. SOPA (the version being considered in the U.S. House of Representatives) is the more dangerous of the two. It would essentially be the equivalent of a nuclear bomb being dropped on the Internet. It would give government officials unlimited power to very rapidly shut down any website that is found to “engage in, enable or facilitate” copyright infringement. That language is very broad and very vague. Many fear that it will be used to shut down any websites that even inadvertently link to “infringing material”. Can you imagine a world where there is no more Facebook, Twitter or YouTube? Sites like those would be forced to hire thousands of Internet censors to make sure that no “infringing material” is posted, and many prominent websites may simply decide that allowing users to post content is no longer profitable and is just not worth the hassle. Are you starting to get the picture? That is why we must stop SOPA. If SOPA is enacted, it could be the death of the free Internet.

But this is exactly the kind of bill that the establishment media has been waiting for. It would give them back control. SOPA is being heavily promoted by big media corporations. If they are able to shut down free speech on the Internet, then suddenly everyone would be forced to rely on them for news and entertainment once again.

That is why SOPA and PIPA must be stopped. A recent editorial in the New York Times described how these new laws would work….

The bills would empower the attorney general to create a blacklist of sites to be blocked by Internet service providers, search engines, payment providers and advertising networks, all without a court hearing or a trial. The House version goes further, allowing private companies to sue service providers for even briefly and unknowingly hosting content that infringes on copyright – a sharp change from current law, which protects the service providers from civil liability if they remove the problematic content immediately upon notification. The intention is not the same as China’s Great Firewall, a nationwide system of Web censorship, but the practical effect could be similar.

Everyone would be deathly scared of allowing anything to be posted on their websites in such an environment. Free speech on the Internet would be a thing of the past. 

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To the extent possible under law, Stephan Kinsella has waived all copyright and related or neighboring rights to C4SIF. This work is published from: United States. In the event the CC0 license is unenforceable a  Creative Commons License Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License is hereby granted.