The Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) Engenders Strong Feelings Among Supporters and Opponents

By Victoria Burke

On January 24, the Senate will have a procedural vote on the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA). The dynamics of SOPA are far-reaching and quite divisive. Supporters feel this legislation is the logical next step against foreign websites that circumvent current anti-piracy measures and those that offer counterfeit goods and pharmaceuticals. SOPA comes with the muscle of big name support. Some of the supporters include the MPAA, RIAA, NBA, MLB, NFL, as well as major studios such as Disney and CBS. Additionally, SOPA has the backing of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Microsoft, major pharmaceutical companies such as Pfizer, Eli Lilly and Company, and many others.

Yet, equally fervent are the opponents who worry about the resulting censorship from this Bill. Leading the charge in the opposition are Facebook, Twitter, Google, LinkedIn, Yahoo! and eBay to name a few. Besides vocalizing their objections, the opponents of SOPA are strategizing to make an attention grabbing protest. One idea involves an Internet blackout. Cnet describes this option as the “equivalent of a nuclear option.” Markham Erickson, executive director of NetCoalition (a trade association representing the leading global Internet and technology companies), confirmed to Fox News that such a blackout is under consideration. Erickson said, “a number of companies have had discussions about that.”

Currently, opponents have found success in boycotting SOPA supporters. When Go Daddy initially lent its support to SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act), the company ended up suffering an exodus of domain customers. Those who feel the proposed legislation goes too far responded by sending Go Daddy a message. They spoke with their feet and left the company by transferring their domains to other providers. In order to stop the bleeding, Go Daddy released a statement withdrawing its support of SOPA. (Official statement from Go Daddy: http://www.godaddy.com/newscenter/release-view.aspx?news_item_id=378)

One article that breaks down the intricacies of this controversial legislation is: “What is SOPA Bill 2012? 7 Things to Know About Controversial Legislation” from the International Business Times. http://www.ibtimes.com/articles/272580/20111225/sopa-bill-2012-things-know-controversial-legislation.htm

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