Obama & SOPA


The internet is at once the most resourceful medium of information and the most misleading.

I read four articles about the controversial SOPA/PIPA laws that have been signed into legislation by President Obama and I still don’t get what the big fuss is about.

None of the articles I read made the connection between these pieces of legislation and the death of the bill of rights – as so many popular online forums have done.

How does preventing people from illegally posting movies and music on the internet taking away our rights? I thought the constitution protected private/intellectual property?

I also don’t understand this provision Obama apologized about, the one regarding the indefinite detainment of American civilians. The details remain ambiguous.

“I want to clarify that my administration will not authorize the indefinite military detention without trial of American citizens. Indeed, I believe that doing so would break with our most important traditions and values as a nation,” Obama stated, after signing the bill this past Saturday.

I asked a friend of mine what he thought about the bill. I told him I wasn’t worried about it because I trust the Obama Administration. He told me he wasn’t worried about the Obama Administration either. What worried him however was the prospect of a Republican taking office and using the bill to justify profiling and government breaches of individual rights. At that moment I thought of George Bush. I thought of the WMD lies we were spoon-fed prior to the invasion of Iraq. Then I thought of the Patriot Act.

4 thoughts on “Obama & SOPA

  1. Danny,

    Great post. I think though that you are confusing SOPA with the Defense Authorization bill. SOPA has not been voted to yet and has not been signed into law by Obama. SOPA allows copyright holders to seize and shut down any website on which their material is posted. This is a sea change from the DMCA which allows copyright holders to have their property removed from websites. Many people are upset over this because it could lead to a big over-reach and shut down many fast growing web properties like Facebook.

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    1. I see. Thank you very much for clarifying that for me. So the Defense Authorization Bill is the one dealing with detainment while SOPA is merely dealing with copyright issues. I guess the grey area is what scares people about SOPA. I think SOPA should be expected in this day and age because of the internet. As for the Defense bill, do you think Obama signed it because of pressure from the Right? Also, do you think it really threatens Americans?

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      1. Well the worst part about SOPA is that the copyright holder can force sites to stop linking to sites found to be in infringement, stop search engines from index these sites and prevent companies with doing business with them too. So to some people (myself included) it smacks of censorship or suppression. This is especially troubling to sites that have lots of user generated content. Its is very difficult to police content that grows at the rate of days of video per minutes (in the case of YouTube) and these sites would be a risk of being shuttered or seized.

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  2. I feel the problem here is about the details. How exactly are these websites responsible for infringement – that is, what exactly are they doing to infringe copyrights. Also, the punishment against websites linking to other websites should not be the same as the punishment for the actual copyright infringer. There is a lot of grey here.

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