Another Really, Really Bad Idea

From?  You guessed it: Your United States Congress.

It’s called the “Stop Internet Piracy Act” (SOPA) and it’s designed to, well, stop internet piracy.  (It’s being pushed by major Hollywood studios and recording labels.)

SOPA grants sweeping – and scary – powers to the federal government and eliminates due process protection.

Under the proposed legislation all that’s required for government to shutdown a specific website is the mere accusation that the site unlawfully featured copyrighted content.  Such an accusation need not be proven – or even accompanied by probable cause. All that an accuser (or competitor) needs to do in order to obtain injunctive relief is point the finger at a website.

Once you’re a “rogue” site, you’re done.  Good luck dealing with federal regulators.  But there’s more:

“Any website that features user-generated content or that enables cloud-based data storage could end up in its crosshairs,” writes David Sohn, senior policy council at the Center on Democracy and Technology. “(Internet Service Providers) would face new and open-ended obligations to monitor and police user behavior. Payment processors and ad networks would be required to cut off business with any website that rights-holders allege hasn’t done enough to police infringement.”

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