Remember how all those blogs, websites, hacktivist groups, and legal experts were saying that the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) would be the end of the internet as we know it?
You know, they were saying that it was the beginning of internet censorship in America?
It turns out that was all just a big misunderstanding.
Rep. Lamar Smith, the bill’s main sponsor, says there’s nothing to worry about.
“The criticism of this bill is completely hypothetical; none of it is based in reality,” said Smith, R.-Texas, in a statement. “Not one of the critics was able to point to any language in the bill that would in any way harm the Internet. Their accusations are simply not supported by any facts.”
Smith outright dismissed people who worry about SOPA’s consequences for the web.
“I think their fears are unfounded,” he said.
In a nutshell, SOPA would allow copyright owners and the U.S. Department of Justice to pursue a wide range of actions against websites that host and post infringing content. Many web users and major tech companies – including Google, Wikipedia, and Facebook – have argued that SOPA is too powerful and would severely disrupt the basic infrastructure of the internet.
But those companies are obviously wrong. After all, the guy who’s sponsoring the bill says it’s OK, so it must be OK, right?
You know all those proxy servers that were used to coordinate the Arab Spring movement in the Middle East? Well, those would be illegal under SOPA. How convenient.
On TIME’s Techland blog, Jerry Brito wrote, “Imagine if the U.K. created a blacklist of American newspapers that its courts found violated celebrities’ privacy? Or what if France blocked American sites it believed contained hate speech?”
Similarly, the Center for Democracy and Technology warned, “If SOPA and PIPA are enacted, the U.S. government must be prepared for other governments to follow suit, in service to whatever social policies they believe are important – whether restricting hate speech, insults to public officials, or political dissent.”
Clearly, all these industry experts are wrong and the politicians are right.
I mean, when have politicians ever been wrong about anything?
Just on the off chance you disagree with Rep. Lamar Smith, make sure you read about how to stop SOPA here.
- Fears of SOPA ‘Unfounded,’ Says Bill’s Sponsor (mashable.com)
- Lamar Smith: if you oppose SOPA, you don’t matter (boingboing.net)
- Chairman Lamar Smith responds to @reddit outcry against #SOPA (alexisohanian.com)