Debate of the Day: Just How Insane is SOPA?

Time to get our heads out of the sand and pay attention to something that’s actually happening in government for a change. SOPA, the Stop Online Piracy Bill is currently up for debate in the House, and if such a bill is signed into law, it could be the end of the internet as we know it. It sounds like hyperbole, but trust me, it’s not.

The idea behind the bill is that because Torrent sites like The Pirate Bay operate in foreign countries, free of the US’s copyright laws, that the government should be able to censor them from public view should they deem them “infringing.”

While that’s enough of a first amendment violation, the fine print of SOPA is what has me actually scared for my livelihood. The rule is that you can be subject to the same sort of punishment even if you’re caught linking to copyrighted content. Meaning, if Unreality posts a YouTube video containing copyrighted content, we are technically infringers. Post a photo or a movie poster without explicit permission? You could land yourself on a blacklist.

But past Unreality, this would disrupt the very fabric of the internet, as EVERY major site would fall under this new law. Google, Yahoo, Bing, Blogger, Tumblr, Reddit and almost any blog you can think of actively links to copyrighted content and could be subject to the penalties of this law.

I’ve written a longer piece about the  implications of SOPA which you can read here, but it’s scary how little the average person actually knows about this law, or even that it exists in the first place. Educate yourself, and non US citizens, try not to laugh at us too much.

Similar Posts


  1. In UE there are similar problems ACTA for one, Hadopi in France that cuts you’re internet connection after 3 warning that you are downloading illegally.

    But the scary thing about ACTA that it is disused behind closed doors, and media won’t even properly raise the issue.

  2. The full article on Forbes is without a doubt the scariest thing I have ever read…

    It’s insane to think that your whole country might wake up to find half the internet blacklisted someday and most of the general population won’t having a freaking clue why never mind be able to do a damn thing about it.

    I can only hope the tech giants decide to play dirty and manage the house to back down on that bullshit bill

  3. this is big news, first heard about it on the colbert report (funny show). and yeah its gonna be the end of the internet if they pass this.

    also in case you want to join a rally, better have $$$ because in order to protest you have to get a permission and $50 per hour per police in the area to protest legally.

  4. Well none of this is surprising. Remember how Rep Weiner twitter his penis to all his followers? Well he was probably one of few house members who even knew about the site and he didn’t even have the mental capacity to understand how to use it. These are the clowns that write out laws, as paid off by major industry leaders.

    I’m surprised the internet lasted this long. Also, the way it is written, basic investigative journalism will be made illegal.

  5. What makes this law even worse, is that it won’t be the government that is actually doing the censorship, but the media companies that have already gotten in trouble for abusing their legal authority many times.

    All they’ve got to do is find a willing judge and Boom, off to the races.

  6. It’s weird that the likes of google and facebook aren’t doing more to prevent this.

    Anyway I don’t think this bill is going to be successful. it’s too much.

  7. I wouldn’t worry too much. The way the American legislative system is set up they have to write bills like that to even get the mildest items on it passed, as whichever member/party proposing it would need to have sacrificial items in it to give up in negotiation so the majority of the scariest things in the proposal won’t ever see the light of day.

    Also 99% of bills seen by the US Senate/House of Representatives are rejected outright anyway. Oddly enough having absolute freedom of speech means that really wierd things can get proposed, but thankfully they’re mostly rejected.

    Also, how on earth so they even begin to police a law like that? The internet is full of millions of sites that use links all the time they can’t just systematically shut down sites as people will just create new ones to replace them.

    Also Paul, I know you are probably very worried about all this. But remember you are one of many, and they can’t get at you without getting at everyone else too. Also, there are many arguments you could use to get yourself out of anything that did happen, it’s not like you are flogging bootlet copies of films or anything.

    Fundamentally, the psychological barrier of “ownership” degenerates when items become digital, as no “true” copy of the item exists to own. Society is just going to have to accept that placing uncontrolled media out there is going to have consequences, really we should be holding the companies going mental about their “copyrights” more to account for sloppy security than persecuting individual users for posting a link.

  8. The reason behind it is that the US government and every other government are scared shitless of free speech and free thought. They are using the excuse of piracy and copyright to effect draconian measures that will allow them to censor anything they choose with no effective legal redress.
    Politicians can then carry on flouting the law and public scrutiny because there won’t be any, not from the internet anyway.
    I bet the Chinese are loving this one.

  9. Sounds like the dirty politicians and greedy corporations are trying to censor the internet and squeeze more money out of internet users, using a shallow excuse like stopping internet piracy as a front. The only reason people like them are still alive is because murder is illegal.

  10. The Forbes article was amazing, man. We are at the potential doorstep of a cultural blackout, and I think the fear a lot of us are feeling right now about this is genuine and justified. Little afraid to see how this one plays out, actually.

  11. There were some people here in Germany as well, who wanted to censor the internet…. here it was “child pornography” as a buzzword. If you were against the law, you were a child molestor.

    Now we have the pirate-party coming into the senates of the federal states, and the bigger partys get afraid. You Americans should try Democracy…. you know… with more than 2 parties….

    I mean, you remember that simpsons episode with kang and koloth?

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.