By now you’ve probably heard of SOPA, the Stop Online Privacy Act introduced by San Antonio Congressman Lamar Smith.
The jist of it is that media and entertainment companies want to protect the copyright on their content from pirates. Not too many people would take issue with that.
But the legislation would effectively give content producers the ability to censor the web.
On Wednesday, dozens of websites including Wikipedia, Reddit, WordPress, Craigslist and others blacked out their content in protest over the legislation. Google, which also opposes SOPA, blacked out its logo.
PIPA, the Protect IP ACT, introduced by Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont is already losing support.
But when Congress reconvenes work will begin on SOPA again, according to this article from Engadget.
San Antonio-based Rackspace Hosting has been working with lawmakers to fix the bills to effectively fight online piracy and avoid Internet disruption or “imposing unreasonable costs on Internet users and service providers,” Rackspace CEO Lanham Napier wrote in a blog post.
He said the existing bills, SOPA and PIPA, are “well-intentioned, but would do more harm than good. Their enforcement provisions could be easily evaded, and they would undermine the security and stability of the Internet.
Meanwhile, Congressman Smith contends that SOPA is vastly misunderstood. He also blasted Wikipedia for what he called a publicity stunt.
“It is ironic that a website dedicated to providing information is spreading misinformation about the Stop Online Piracy Act. The bill will not harm Wikipedia, domestic blogs or social networking sites,” according to Lamar. “This publicity stunt does a disservice to its users by promoting fear instead of facts. Perhaps during the blackout, Internet users can look elsewhere for an accurate definition of online piracy.”
Smith says the “Stop Online Piracy Act only targets foreign websites that are primarily dedicated to illegal activity. It does not grant the Justice Department the authority to seek a court order to shut down any website operated in the U.S.”