SOPA: Bloggers and Libertarians vs. Hollywood

Just before the holidays, the House held a hearing about the proposed Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), which would give the US Justice Department new powers to clamp down on websites that host material with disputed copyrights. The bill is hotly opposed by a number of internet giants including including Wikipedia owner WikimediaeBay, Google, Twitter and, as of last Friday, GoDaddy. The domain registration company had been one of the few internet companies speaking up in support of SOPA but reversed course after Reddit and other companies led a grassroots boycott campaign.

SOPA would affect all of us by  ”censoring any web site capable of providing its users with the means of promoting pirated content or allowing the process,” writes Adam Dachis of Lifehacker. That is, any site that allows you to post pirated content —  Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Tumblr, etc., etc. — can have a claim brought against it even for “something as minor as you posting a copyrighted image to your Facebook page, or piracy-friendly information in the comments of a post such as this one.” Under SOPA, a site would have only five days to submit an appeal if a claim of piracy is brought against it.

In addition, SOPA would create an “Internet blacklist” that would promote online censorship, eliminate jobs and squash freedom of speech. Under SOPA, the US Justice Department would have the right to police websites that host material whose copyright is disputed and not only sites in the US, but aboard. Even more, the US could shut down websites and also go after the companies that support them technically or through payment systems, such as Paypal.

SOPA Supporters and Opponents

Dachis notes that SOPA could “negatively change the internet as we know it.” Many of SOPA’s supporters are from the Internet community, but also from the political right and hold libertarian views. As Timothy B. Lee at Ars Technica points out, SOPA’s opponents include GOP presidential candidate Ron Paul as well as members of libertarian Think Tanks including  the Cato Institute and Erick Erickson of the conservative political blog RedState. James Gattuso, a senior research fellow from the conservative think tank the Heritage Foundation, argues that SOPA “enforces private property rights at the expense of other values, such as innovation on the Internet, security of the Internet, and freedom of communication.”

SOPA was sponsored by a Republican Rep. Lamar Smith (TX). The House anti-piracy bill and a Senate version, the Protect IP Act (PIPA), have powerful backers in the form of the the United States Chamber of Commerce, Americans for Tax Reform, the Motion Picture Association of America, the American Federation of Musicians, the Directors Guild of America, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters and the Screen Actors Guild. SOPA, says Declan McCullagh on CNET, ”represents the latest effort from the Motion Picture Association of America, the Recording Industry Association of America, and their allies to counter what they view as rampant piracy on the Internet, especially offshore sites such as” The issues of online piracy that SOPA addresses reveal a new kind of divide. Writes Ars Technica‘s Lee:

…the fight over SOPA is less about left versus right than it is about declining industries—Hollywood and major labels—versus the Internet community. Conservative bloggers like Erickson, Matt Drudge, and Glenn “Instapundit” Reynolds are as offended by the legislation as are their liberal and libertarian counterparts. Conversely, even staunch civil libertarians seem to get confused about copyright issues if they’re too closely tied to Hollywood.

Other conservative and liberal bloggers are speaking out against SOPA, saying that it could mean the literal end of them.

After the drawn-out hearings about SOPA on December 15 and 16 — which also revealed how little politicians understand about the workings of the internet — lawmakers agreed to table discussion until Congress meets again in January and SOPA’s opponents have been gathering their forces. Conservative Rep. Darrell Issa (CA), Senior House Republican and chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform committee, has been leading the hearings and has said that SOPA should not be brought to the House floor.

Related Care2 Coverage

We Don’t Need to Censor the Internet: Tech Community Protests SOPA

To Fight Piracy, Internet & Media Companies Join Forces

How Facebook Will Profit Even More From Your Profile



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roseann s.
rose ann s.3 years ago

censorship smacks of 'budding dictator,rigid regime..and our cherished freedom of speech is compromised..NO WAY

Karyl Wood
Karyl Wood3 years ago

I'm a retired English teacher and am against censorship of any kind.

Erin O.
Erin O.3 years ago

Why would anyone want to destroy internet commerce like this? This won't even benefit the companies that support it. It is CRAZY! If either of these things passes, and is enforced it will kill millions more jobs in HOLLYWOOD, as well as other media industries, and across the board. It would be a HUGE mistake to let this go through. The internet is the real place where we get the "trickle" or "ripple" effect that the Republicans keep claiming comes from the "job creators," by which they mean the Plutocracy in this country. The people who support this don't seem to understand the #1 RULE OF BUSINESS: THE CUSTOMER IS ALWAYS RIGHT.

colleen p.
colleen p.3 years ago

like I said. Care2 could get blocked because of all those who use their gallery to upload other's works, and linking to youtube.

Dakota Payne
Dakota Payne3 years ago


Carrie H.
Carrie H.3 years ago

Boycott Hollywood and their adviterzers,

Vivianne Mosca-Clark

I do not want this 'stuff' to become law.....It is no other other then a way to stop people from sharing their thoughts and items they think are import and or fun.

Vivianne Mosca-Clark

I do not want this 'stuff' to become law.....It is no other other then a way to stop people from sharing their thoughts and items they think are import and or fun.

John Kramer
John Kramer3 years ago

I am a conservative Republican. I am for less government. I am opposed to all kinds of censorship.
I hate censorship. Government censorship is wrong.

Theresa K.
Theresa K.3 years ago

Craig D. - LOL You think you can blame Obama for this, as if McCain would have been better? He woulda signed this crap too. Hell, he co-authored NDAA. So don't even pretend that Obama caused this - they BOTH would have done the same damn thing.