Explanations about SOPA:

SOPA Attempts to Control and Stifle Internet
Disasterous IP Legislation is Back
American Censorship Day

Join American Censorship Day: http://americancensorship.org

I will use a reader’s summary to give you an overview of the issues if you don’t want to sift through the other sites.

Please email and, more importantly, TELEPHONE your congresscritters about PROTECT-IP (S.968) and SOPA (HR 3261). These bills would impose online censorship in America, generally break the Internet, stifle technology development, and be all around bad. If you’ve already heard about them, you can get your congresscritters’ contact info here. Go on, give them a ring, then go on with your day. Have fun!

If you haven’t heard yet, here’s the basic run-down on SOPA:

– If anything, be it one page, on a website contains allegedly infringing material, a copyright holder can have it taken down. Even one page on a domain. So if someone posts a video Warner Brothers claims as theirs on, say, their livejournal, they can order American ISPs to block access to everyone’s. Youtube and the like basically die immediately; that’s why Google and Yahoo quit the US Chamber of Commerce over this.

– ISPs and hosting providers would be required to police their users’ activity for infringing material. This is a ridiculously huge burden. It would also, like the first point above, create a massive chilling effect as they cut users off for fair use of copyrighted material, or anything that they’re remotely unsure about, rather than face a potential rights-holder’s wrath.

– What kind of wrath? Cutting off credit card payment to your website within five days of someone filing a complaint, whether they have a remote claim to material anywhere on your website or not. This is pretty effective in killing sites that routinely ignore strongly-worded takedown notices *coughwikileakscough*. Some random blog, legal whistleblower, comic, what have you? Not a chance.

– It also makes it illegal, or at least terrifyingly gray-areaed, to produce or offer products that could be used to get around website blacklisting orders. This covers web proxies. It covers SSH, potentially. It covers Tor.

Actually, the EFF has a ton of information on exactly how bad this would be. It adds up to very, very bad.

And it’s important now, because SOPA goes into Judiciary committee hearings tomorrow, Wednesday November 16, at which apparently no company, organization, or individual opposed to it was granted a slot to testify. http://www.americancensorship.org has information on a day of action against it, but their site is currently unreachable. With today’s Internet, that probably means it’s slashdotted. Post-SOPA internet, well.

too long, didn’t read: SOPA house bill bad, no internet for you, no free speech for nobody. call congresscritter, tell them kill it with fire.