SOPA is a bill that Hollywood, the music industry, and others (Big Copyright) are lobbying congress to pass. This bill would allow extra-judicial actions to block web sites and payment processing for web sites that Big Copyright disagrees with. This is a bill too far. Way too far.
Copyright is a balancing act. Section 8 of the US constitution says that one of the powers of congress is:
To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries
This doesn’t say that copyrights should last forever (hi Mickey!), and it doesn’t say that copyrights should be enforced at all costs (fair use being one critical exception). It just says that a bit of protection for intellectual property might be kinda nice.
Preventing piracy in the age of the Internet is tricky. Impossible actually. But draconian measures that muzzle legitimate free speech and give excessive power to large content creators are not the answer. Balanced legislation that includes sufficient judicial oversight is needed. And, since much piracy is driven by convenience, content providers need to provide easier ways of acquiring legal content. It’s a crazy idea I know: instead of suing your customers and blocking their access to websites, why not make it easier for them to purchase your products?
See Wikipedia’s SOPA and PIPA article for more information – it’s still up today.
And if you are a US citizen then make sure that your representatives know that muzzling free speech without judicial oversight so that Eminem can sell a couple more CDs is not acceptable.