We all can concede that piracy on the internet is definitely a major problem. We can also concede that the internet has been a source of headaches for major record and movie companies due to this piracy. At least as much as I can tell by the massive lobbying effort put on by these industries (slow applause by the way). However, the bill has been worded in a way that is conducive to the complete censorship of the internet as well as stopping innovation in an entire industry – proven by raunch opposition by internet giants such as Google, Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, Mozilla, and countless other companies. Multiple internet communities like Reddit are staging forms of collective boycott – working against certain senators and, of course, the infamous “Go Daddy Boycott.” All the notions of “freedom” and “free flow of information in a democracy” – in a sense – will all be for naught in a vision of a world justified by SOPA.
Whats Going On?
Essentially, a bill (dis)affectionally known as SOPA is passing with large amounts of support in both the house and senate. However, certain clauses within the bill is specifically worded in a way that gives the government the ability to take over domains and websites that is suspected of spreading copyrighted files and data. However, with the boom of the internet and the massive quantity of user-based content, monitoring copyrighted links and piracy on the internet virtually impossible. A link to a copyrighted file on an internet forum is grounds for confiscation of that forum. And we can see how this can completely cut off the innovation produced by these web companies the industry as a whole – user-based content, information sharing, data collection, communication, and a wide variety of functions that we take for granted on the internet – is in the air.
Moreover, the architecture on how the internet is based on is can be compromised by SOPA. “Father of the Internet” – Vinton Cerf – one of the first engineers to work on the internet as well as determine the current paradigm of development explains:
Thus, even with the proposed manager’s amendment, SOPA’s site-blocking provisions remain problematic. They would undermine the architecture of the Internet and obstruct the 15 year effort by the public and private sectors to improve cybersecurity through implementation of DNSSEC, a critical set of extensions designed to address security vulnerabilities in the DNS.
This collateral damage of SOPA would be particularly regrettable because site blocking or redirection mechanisms are unlikely to make a significant dent in the availability of infringing material and counterfeits online, given that DNS manipulation can be defeated by simply choosing an offshore DNS resolution provider, maintaining one’s own local DNS cache or using direct IP address references.
But how badly worded, structured, written, and authored is this bill and the potential effects of this bill in reality? Is it all just hype or not?
Personally, I don’t know. Maybe SOPA can be one of the worst bills ever written. Or perhaps nothing will happen as a result of the bill due to it being too weak. However one thing is for sure. When calculating and considering the ages of persons elected to congressional office, we realize this:
Your parents are currently determining the future of the internet. Yeah. Think about that for a moment.
Grab the pitchforks.