The GeeksverseLeaving Proof 65 | SOPA, PIPA, and You

Leaving Proof 65 | SOPA, PIPA, and You
Published on Tuesday, January 17, 2012 by

If you’ve checked out our front page lately, you’ll notice that we have a “Stop SOPA and PIPA!” piece up, and that the site (including Leaving Proof) will be going dark on Wednesday, 18 January 2012 to join a number of other sites in protesting the two pieces of pending American legislation.

Please take the time to inform yourself about the issues at hand and read the text of SOPA (the Stop On-line Piracy Act, a.k.a. H.R.3261) here and PIPA (the Protect Intellectual Property Act, a.k.a. S.968) here. The BBC has a largely impartial single-page overview of both proposed laws here for those of you who don’t have the time or inclination to sift through the legalese.

We here at Leaving Proof do not dispute the fact that online piracy is a legitimate concern for government and industry and that the legal rights of intellectual property holders must be upheld and protected. However, the vague language of both SOPA and PIPA opens up the possibility that the laws can be effectively used to stifle the free exchange of information and media over the Internet that is governed by the common sense interpretation of fair use.

SOPA and PIPA, if passed, will have far-reaching effects that stretch beyond the United States’ borders: SOPA seeks to assert itself over any domain name that is “registered or assigned by a domain name registrar, domain name registry, or other domain name registration authority, that is located within a judicial district of the United States.” Considering that every dot-com, dot-net, and dot-org domain name is managed by a US-based domain registry, that means a dot-com, dot-net, or dot-org site can be targeted by SOPA regardless of where the site is actually registered.

If you are based in the US and—after sufficiently educating yourself on the issues at hand—want to let your elected representative know that you are not in favour of these laws being passed, go to the Electronic Frontier Foundation’s Stop the Internet Blacklist Legislation page. If you are based outside of the US, keep vigilant and be alert for similar pieces of legislation being passed in your country, and be aware that SOPA and PIPA, if passed, will affect how you will be able to access information on the Internet, regardless of where you do your computing from.

See you guys on the other side of the blackout.

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