As mentioned in a post yesterday, many sites are going dark or advocating protest against the SOPA bill in the US. This bill affects not only Americans, but others outside of the US, including here in Canada. If the bill is passed, it will lead to pressure on Ottawa to follow suit. Regardless of changes to any laws outside of the US, recording and film industries will still be going after prosecution on websites regardless of their location.
”Any Canadian website owner could in theory find themselves subject to a court order in the United States and ISPs would be required to block them, and search engines would be required to remove them from their listings, all without their participation in a hearing.” – University of Ottawa Prof. Michael Geist, Canada’s Research Chair in Internet and E-commerce Law [Metro]
With the changes to the way content is used from a user generated perspective, to self expression and fair use guidelines – the bill will only create online havoc. This of course will translate into real economic impacts of many individuals and market segments. Its a case of the interests of a few powerful lobby groups which have had it thier way on the backs of those who produce content for them, against many.
Google posted this link today for you to participate. A quick review of the sites participating at 9:00 am AST found only Wiki was dark as of that time though Reddit was still active and Google had yet to remove their logo as mentioned in the morning press. No doubt the others will follow suit throughout the day.
A Senate committee approved a similar bill in May called the Protect IP Act (PIPA) and is now pending before the full Senate.
The Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), also known as House Bill 3261 or H.R. 3261, is a bill that was introduced in the United States House of Representatives on October 26, 2011, by House Judiciary Committee Chair Representative Lamar S. Smith (R-TX) and a bipartisan group of 12 initial co-sponsors. The bill, if made law, would expand the ability of U.S. law enforcement and copyright holders to fight online trafficking in copyrighted intellectual property and counterfeit goods. Presented to the House Judiciary Committee, it builds on the similar PRO-IP Act of 2008 and the corresponding Senate bill, the PROTECT IP Act. [Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stop_Online_Piracy_Act]
So if you care about not getting sued, be able to use the Internet as you have been, and not have one small greedy lobby base tell you what you can and cannot do, you best sign one of the many petitions.