Why Anyone Who Uses the Web Should be Concerned About SOPA

What the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) could mean to the way you do business online

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How would you feel about the U.S. government policing the Internet? Well, a new bill, Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) would allow them to control content on the World Wide Web as we know it today. There are major concerns with the application of this bill that run must deeper than just blocking Websites. Imagine for a moment what this type of censorship would mean: any content you post to Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, or any other social network or website could be blocked and become unsearchable on the Internet because of a single link.

The underlining issue of protecting intellectual property is a real problem, which is supposedly why the bill has been proposed. For content providers law enforcement to fight online trafficking and copyrighting infringements sounds like a noble and justifiable reason to pass the bill. But, the collateral damage of this bill’s passage would be so immense that it would far out weight the value that it would provide based upon how the bill is proposed today.

The Impact of SOPA on Entrepreneurs

Let’s look even deeper at this bill, which would be stifling to entrepreneurs, who are the lifeline of the economy. Booz & Co. interviewed 200 prominent angel investors and venture capitalist about this bill and reported that 70% of them would be deterred from investing if anti-piracy regulations were passed. This would impact innovation and job creation in the U.S. Think about the impact to Silicon Valley and other tech hubs, as well.

What Would be the Long-Term Impact of SOPA?

  • There would be fewer startups launching because of the increase legal risk.
  • Social networks, personal pages and sites where people express themselves could become unsearchable and blocked on the Internet.
  • Email providers could be forced to censor emails to scan for links users send or receive.
  • Content you share in your social networks would be monitored and censored–this includes photos, videos and status updates.
  • Increased censorship would possibility remove legitimate content that you are sharing.
  • Payment-processing companies like PayPal could be forced to stop doing business with sites that have been blocked.
  • Most U.S.-based hosting services would relocate outside the U.S. jurisdiction, which would result in lost jobs.
  • Site owners would become liable for user-posted content, if they don’t do enough to stop users from posting “illegal” content on his/her site, which could become very costly.

Which Popular Sites Would be at Risk?

  • Facebook
  • Google
  • Twitter
  • YouTube
  • LinkedIn
  • Vimeo
  • And countless other websites and/or social networks

What Actions Can You Take?

Send your Congressman a pre-written letter via the American Censorship website (click here).

Sign the ‘Stop the E-Parasite Act’ petition by clicking here.

Follow the Electronic Frontier on Twitter to stay posted on your digital civil liberalities @EFF.

Check out the TechCrunch procedure list of over 40+ companies against SOPA by clicking here.