This blog will be participating in the American Censorship Day awareness campaign on Wednesday, November 16, 2011 to show opposition to the Stop Online Piracy Act (H.R.3261). There is an effort in the U.S. Congress to give power to the Department of Justice to disrupt the domain name service (DNS – the bit of internet infrastructure that makes human-readable things like “dltj.org” meaningful to machines) and order websites and search engines to remove links to targeted services (among other things). This legislation is supported in large part by the content creation industries to “address today’s gravest threat to the American film industry workforce: the illegal distribution of content online.”1
The Center for Democracy and Technology has as a 2-page overview of why this is bad a bad law:
Why I Oppose SOPA
Two overriding reasons. First, I think the content creation industry already has enough tools in their arsenal for it to go after legitimate infringements of their rights. That aside, there is a more fundamental reason: this law meddles with the foundational structures of the internet (the Domain Name System in particular), and that can have unexpected consequences. The Cybersecurity in the Balance: Weighing the Risks of the PROTECT IP Act and the Stop Online Piracy Act paper from the Brookings Institution goes into more detail about the latter reason. This reasoning is also why I oppose interception proxy servers (such as those that filter or modify web page content) — they break the net. The power of the internet has been — and should continue to be — the transparent, end-to-end nature of the net that enables and promotes creative innovation at the edges of the network. SOPA adds complexity and cloudiness to the core of the internet.
- From the Motion Picture Association of America. Citation: IFTA: Jennifer Garnick, NATO: Patrick Corcoran, MPAA: Howard Gantman, Deluxe: Cathy Main, (2011, October 26). Creative Community Hails New Bipartisan House Legislation to Shut Down Rogue Websites that Steal American-Made Content. Retrieved October 31, 2011, from MPAA. [↩]