This will be the last post for a while on the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) sitting in the U.S. Congress. It is flying under the radar for a lot of internet users, but it has big repercussions for anyone involved in content creation, the value-added kind that requires major investments of time and money. Of course, for Indie authors and self-publishers the stakes are substantial as well. And while many stake holders would like to see a stronger mechanism to discourage piracy, they don’t want to see the internet gutted to the point where it no longer facilitates the free flow of information.
And gutting would not be too strong a word if the bill were to pass in it’s original form. The most troubling provision identified by most objectors is that U.S. federal courts could order ISP’s and search engines such as Google, Bing and Yahoo to block websites that contravene copyrights and trademarks. They would do so by filtering their own Domain Name System (DNS) servers to block infringing websites from showing up on the user’s browser when requested.
But this past Friday, the bill’s sponsor, Rep. Lamar Smith, stated that he would remove that controversial provision. Whether that will placate the diehard detractors when the bill comes up for scrutiny in the House Judiciary committee remains to be seen.