Congress is considering the Stop Online Piracy Act this week (SOPA) this week. This bill represents the most dangerous piece of legislation that has ever come before congress in our lifetime. Depending on what side of the aisle you sit, you probably thought the PATRIOT Act or the Obama stimulus and healthcare bill were bad. Allow me to say this clearly: those were nothing.
This bill is especially bad because Section 102 of the bill requires that, after being notified of infringing content, service providers are required to take steps to prevent access to the content (link) and search engines are supposed to make the links magically disappear from their results (link). Similar provisions exist in the bill for payment processors (link).
Do I support online piracy? No. I believe people deserve to get paid for what they do. However, I also believe that under no circumstances should the government be allowed to interfere with the business of non-co-conspirator third parties with just a court order. The precedent this sets is dangerous, and scary.
Look into this yourself. Check out the OpenCongress profile for the bill. Read the text. Write your congressional representatives. Call them tomorrow, Wednesday November 16th.
We must prevent this bill from being passed or, I fear, give up our protected rights under the First Amendment in the digital world.