Speak Your Mind

Speak Your Mind: SOPA What?

If you live at least part of your life on the Internet, you’ve no doubt heard of the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the Protect IP Act (PROTECT IP), which are winding their way through the United States Congress. Ostensibly, these bills are supposed to be a tool to deal with what is admittedly a worldwide problem: the pirating of copyrighted products on the Internet. But, the bills use a sledgehammer where they should use a scalpel.

You see, both bills allow entire sites to be taken down based on a “good faith” assertion that a copyright is being infringed. Without due process. (Legal speak translation: without your day in court.) There is a good argument that this isn’t just bad policy, but that it’s an unconstitutional prior restraint on free speech. (More legal speak translation: the government can’t prevent you from speaking unless it has a damn good reason presented in a court of law, and there is almost never a reason that is damn good enough.) This means that sites like Tumblr can be wiped off the face of the Internet if one of its users posts something that is copyright protected.

There has been a lot written about SOPA and PROTECT IP in the last few weeks. But what do you think?

Do you think SOPA and PROTECT IP are necessary to stop online piracy? Are the potential drawbacks worth it? Or will this ruin the Internet?

Featured image credit: photosteve101

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Mindy is an attorney and Managing Editor of Teen Skepchick. She hates the law and loves stars. You can follow her on Twitter and on Google+.

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