What SOPA and PIPA do?

SOPA stands for the Stop Online Piracy Act. It is one of two bills being considered by congress today. The other is the Stop Online Piracy Act.

how SOPA works

Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA)

What SOPA and PIPA do

Here’s what the government can do to foreign websites under even the most narrow reading of SOPA section 102 and PIPA section 3:

  1. Order internet service providers to alter their DNS servers from resolving the domain names of websites in foreign countries that host illegal copies of videos, songs, and photos.
  2. Order search engines like Google to modify search results to exclude foreign websites that host illegally copied material.
  3. Order payment providers like PayPal to shut down the payment accounts of foreign websites that host illegally copied material.
  4. Order ad services like Google’s AdSense to refuse any ads or payment from foreign sites that host illegally copied content.

(These rules don’t apply to domains that end in .com, .net, and .org, which fall under US law — the government has been seizing US domains used for piracy since 2010, and just seized 150 domains last month.)

What tech companies and innovators are saying about SOPA:

The US Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) is controversial depending if your business model needs copyright protection (helpful) or user-generated content (censorship)

The heavy regulation SOPA implies isn’t sitting well with many of tech’s best and brightest. People from AOL, Twitter, Google, LinkedIn, Zynga, and Facebook have all signed a letter to congress that opposes SOPA.  The letter states:

“Since their enactment in 1998, the DMCA’s safe harbor provisions for online service providers have been a cornerstone of the U.S. Internet and technology industry’s growth and success. While we work together to find additional ways to target foreign ‘rogue sites,’ we should not jeopardize a foundational structure that has worked for content owners and Internet companies alike and provides certainty to innovators with new ideas for how people create, find, discuss and share information lawfully online.”

Meanwhile, the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) and the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) support the bill.

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