Essay: SOPA Objective Argument: The Stop

Pages: 4 (1439 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 4  ·  Topic: Computers and the Internet - Internet  ·  Buy This Paper

SAMPLE EXCERPT:

[. . .] The recent Manager's Amendment to SOPA was passed, "narrowing definitions of bad actors, limiting the private right of action that allow copyright and trademark owners to sue, and addressing concerns that anti-piracy measures could eventually denigrate the security and integrity of the Internet" (Gardner 2011). The Manager's Amendment also eliminated the legal duty of servers to monitor activity on a network or face criminal penalties. However, the website could still be taken down, which would mean that the business of many servers could be hampered.

Some of the bill's critics acknowledge the need for greater regulation. One alternative bill entitled the Online Protection and Enforcement of Digital Trade Act (OPEN). OPEN would allow copyrights-holders "to file petitions against 'rogue' foreign sites with the International Trade Commission, which would then be allowed to attack the financial backbone of these sites by drying up funds from credit card processing companies. Supporters of SOPA doubt the remedy goes far enough to properly address piracy by enhancing obligations from service providers" (Gardener 2011). Civil libertarians state that OPEN still goes too far in terms of its ability to limit free speech.

The international community has spoken out against SOPA, denouncing it as hypocritical, given the U.S. State Department's vociferous criticism of China and other nations that attempt to police the Internet for their citizens, indirectly and directly infringing upon the openness of the World Wide Web. "This attempt to unilaterally censor the Internet has spurred worldwide opposition, with several dozen international organizations signing a letter stating that "[t]hrough SOPA, the United States is attempting to dominate a shared global resource" (Losey & Meinrath 2011). Last month, the European Parliament adopted a resolution underscoring "the need to protect the integrity of the global internet and freedom of communication by refraining from unilateral measures to revoke IP addresses or domain names" (Losey & Meinrath 2011).

The battle between SOPA supporters and opponents has been called a battle between 'Hollywood and the geeks,' or representatives of the mainstream media vs. technology companies and website owners and users who favor freedom of access. Supporters contend that all holders of copyrights will benefit, both large and small, given that the Internet's lack of regulation is compromising the ability of people to profit off of their work, and that art of all kinds will be compromised if more stringent protections are not put into force. However, digital copyright laws do exist, and websites such as YouTube must be compliant with current copyright regulations, just as musical download websites must be compliant with the Supreme Court decisions against online websites like Napster that 'gave away' content for free without restitution to the artists.

Even the conservative magazine Forbes came out against the Act: "Under SOPA, a foreign or domestic Internet site that has broken no U.S. law can nevertheless have its economic lifeblood cut off upon a single notice from a copyright or trademark owner who alleges that a single page of the site 'enables or facilitate'" illegal activity by third parties...Moreover, a court can second-guess whether an Internet advertising network is taking all technically feasible and reasonable measures to prevent the placement of ads on a site that has not been found to infringe an existing intellectual property right" (Shapiro 2011). Freedom of speech issues always require the courts to balance the needs of artists and businesses that make money off of artists to legitimately profit from copyright laws vs. citizen's rights to express themselves. The consensus amongst liberal constitutional scholars and users of technology of all political stripes is that SOPA goes too far, and will suppress the speech of the many in the interests of the few.

Works Cited

Gardner, Eriq. "New Version of 'Stop Online Piracy Act' As Controversial As Ever (Analysis)."

The Hollywood Reporter. 13 Dec 2011. [14 Dec 2011]

http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/thr-esq/stop-online-piracy-act-chris-dodd-272800

Losey & Meinrath. "The Internet's intolerance acts." Slate. 8 Dec 2011. [14 Dec 2011]

http://www.slate.com/articles/technology/technocracy/2011/12/stop_online_piracy_act_and_protect_ip_act_a_pair_of_bills_that_threaten_internet_freedom_.html

Oremus, Will. Can the geek lobby stop Hollywood from wrecking the Internet?

Slate. 8 Dec 2011. [14 Dec 2011]

http://www.slate.com/articles/technology/technocracy/2011/11/stop_online_piracy_act_can_the_geek_lobby_stop_hollywood_from_wrecking_the_internet_.html

Shapiro, Gary. "Save the Internet." Forbes. 7 Dec 2011. [14 Dec 2011]

http://www.forbes.com/sites/garyshapiro/2011/12/07/save-the-internet-take-action-against-sopa/ [END OF PREVIEW]

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