Political Gurgle on SOPA after the Blackout


As SOPA sinks down in a stream of words and texts, the speed and the frequency at which the US net community rang the alarm bells over the contradictions and extremities of the Act, took it faster and closer to demise. Though created with the hope of penalizing websites that deal in pirated content, SOPA doesn’t augur well for quite a lot of popular websites, search engines and online advertisers for they will be held liable as ‘foreign infringing site’ and for ‘search results, links or other placements that provide access to the foreign infringing site’ under Section 102.

The amount of heat the Congress has taken over the past few months reached its peak with the Internet Blackout of January 18th and consequently resulted in Senator Harry Reid’s announcement of an indefinite suspension of the Bill that was supposed to be ushered in for the not-so-effective DMC Act (1998).

Dick Costolo’s (CEO, Twitter) tweeted, “That’s just silly. Closing a global business in reaction to single-issue national politics is foolish,” which more or less was the common opinion of all those who stood against SOPA/PIPA. Deeming it unethical to shut down websites without due process, lawmakers are sensing a need to revisit the approach and rework on SOPA, if it ever were to hit the Congress floor again.

If the existing anti-piracy laws have enough clout to process the shutdown of MegaUpload.com by the US, the SOPA would have been the end of Internet, if implemented in its present form, even if the consequences to US based sites were unintended, as some might claim.

Notwithstanding the tussle between the Hollywood taking the side of Intellectual property and Silicon Valley raising its voice for freedom of speech, media transmitting tools such as torrents, peer-to-peer network and streaming are considered to be clearly smart over the infamous Napster.

An argument of strong defiance was voiced out by Andrade, President of Cal State Fullerton Reddit Group when he called SOPA as a ‘weak man’s tool’ which could possibly corrupt the government. His disappointment on several counts was further visible as he stated that bailing out the already sinking movie/TV/Music industry by enacting SOPA would curb the ‘not-so-profit-motivated’ organic and innovative forms of entertainment. As much as SOPA might be deemed to address the problem of theft of American inventions and products, it also acts as a barrier for unlimited information access.

For the White House, anything that targets the DNS is a big N0-N0. The Republican primary debate in South Carolina was a tremor of blasts as it took on SOPA. The former House Speaker insisted that the pushing forward of SOPA by some of the most powerful, influential companies are signs of commotion and the information revolution would fare badly before we analyze what actually went wrong.

Presidential prospect, Mitt Romney sees the law as intrusive, threatening and potentially depressing bringing the fastest growing industries in America from grace to disgrace. While a bill that restricts freedom should be weighed carefully, protecting the right of other people should also be a concern is Rick Santorum’s unbiased perspective of SOPA. Google that blacked out their research doodle slowed their crawl speed by 60%, while Baidu and Bing are down by 11% 2.35%, respectively.

Nonetheless, with regard to the debate on SOPA and PIPA dying out there is something similar the European Union is trying to do by working on ratifying a global intellectual property enforcement treaty, The Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA). In spite of the fact that the Big Brother ACTA has the potential to overtake SOPA&PIPA, its enhanced capabilities to infringe on consumers’ privacy and civil liberties while dealing with counterfeit physical goods are expected to be viewed as fatal flaws that would raise the dust.

In this sequel, the Government of Ireland is gearing up to pass a statutory instrument that would encourage rights holders to seek injunctions against ISPs for illegal downloads. But that said, with a parallel jump in access to and avenues for expression, anyone could take offence at anything too.