Dr. Brenda Wilson with her crew of volunteers from Women in Computing at the Tent City - 2011 Homecoming

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SOPA is the equivalent of smashing the Gutenberg press

By Adrian Hon (The Telegraph)


Spurred on by big media companies, the latest effort by governments to stamp out piracy comes in the form of two bills from the US Congress: the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the Protect Intellectual Property Act (PIPA).

According to these acts, if a US site (or a foreign site that has its domain name registered in the US) is found to be "committing or facilitating the commission" of copyright infringment [sic], then, on the request of a rights holder, it is subject to seizure in a way that many scholars believe violates due process, depriving people of a fair hearing and suppressing free speech.

It gets worse. If the targeted site is not based in the US and thus cannot be seized, then the following actions must occur:

1) US sites and search engines must remove all links to the foreign site
2) US advertising services must no longer serve ads linking to the site, or display ads on the foreign site
3) US payment networks must cease all transactions between the foreign site and US customers
4) US service providers to block access to the foreign site via DNS blacklisting

In other words, a rights holder would be able to accuse a website anywhere in the world of facilitating piracy simply because a user posted a comment linking to a file sharing site, and the site would completely vanish from the internet. Anyone using any US-based search engine (which includes pretty much everyone in the UK) would not be able to find it, and anyone in the US would discover that typing in its URL would lead to nowhere.

Read the whole story here

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