To the Editor,
I want to get the word out about two bills that are being argued in Congress. These two bills have to do with the Internet and our freedoms as we know them now. In fact, if they pass, they will be infringing upon parts of our First Amendment Freedom of Speech. If that falls, just how much longer before other of our rights as citizens of this great nation will fall? The two bills are called SOPA and PIPA.
Community sites exist because the current legal infrastructure allows us to host user-contributed material. Under provisions granted by SOPA/PIPA, if a copyright holder believes that any piece of a website violates their copyright, they could use unprecedented measures to deny everyone access to our website and services without due process.
From Tom’s Hardware, in nutshell, here’s what the law would do:
— Assign liability to site owners for everything users post, without consideration for whether or not the user posted without permission. Site owners could face jail time or heavy fines, and DNS blacklisting.
— It would require web services like YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter to monitor and aggressively filter everything all users upload.
— It would deny site owners due process of law, by initiating a DNS blacklisting based solely on a good faith assertion by an individual copyright or intellectual property owner.
— It would give the U.S. government the power to selectively censor the web using techniques similar to those used in China, Malaysia and Iran. The Great Firewall of China is an example of this type of embedded, infrastructural Internet censorship.
Please contact our congressman, Mike McIntyre, and say no to SOPA and PIPA. His address is 2133 Rayburn House Office Building, Washington, D.C., 20515, and the telephone is (202) 225-2731 and the fax is (202) 225-5773 fax.