#SOPA - The Hacker News say “NO WAY

Get mad and take action as you read how your internet privacy and freedoms are about to be taken away in our editor Patti Galle’s article on SOPA…….coming to your personal rights soon.

The Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), or H.R. 3261, is a bill that was introduced on October 26, 2011 in the United States House of Representatives, by right-wing Texas Republican, Representative Lamar Smith and twelve initial co-sponsors. The Stop Online Piracy Act dramatically broadens the capacity of United States law enforcement and copyright holders to fight online trafficking in copyrighted intellectual property and counterfeit goods. Proponents of bill H.R. 3261 state SOPA protects the intellectual property market and related industry, jobs and revenue, and is essential to reinforce and strengthen enforcement of copyright laws particularly against foreign websites. Opponents of the bill forcefully deem that the bill infringes on First Amendment rights, is effectively Internet censorship, and in fact will completely and effectively hobble the Internet. And more importantly, opponents strongly believe SOPA will significantly intimidate, threaten and frighten all potential whistle-blowers and adversely effect many important aspects of free speech.

To date, a large portion of the most important and innovative Internet industries and a very significant percentage of Internet users have shown robust public opposition to Internet-related legislation and SOPA is no exception. Publically argued by top Internet innovators such as Craig Newmark founder of Cragists List, Sergey Brin, co-founder of Google, Reid Hoffman, co-founder of LinkedIn and many other principal Internet industry leaders that SOPA puts the United States on a plane with the majority of tyrannical and oppressive nations in the world, They also firmly believe that SOPA will give the Feds excessive and unacceptable power and authority to censor the Web. (Check out the growing and updated list of impressive opponents. http://www.net-coalition.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/12/Opposition_Dec16.pdf )

Attempting to make their concerns known on November 15, 2011 a letter of “grave concern” was sent to principal members of the United States Senate and the United States Congress and signed by, eBay, Mozilla, Yahoo, AOL Twitter, Zynga, LinkedIn, Google, and Facebook stating how they strongly believe SOPA would establish "a serious risk to our industry's continued track record of innovation and job creation, as well as to our nation's cyber security." It is yet to be seen if their concerns will be taken into consideration or not. But one thing is crystal clear, the Internet's most well-liked sites such as Facebook, Twitter, eBay, and Google, regard the “Hollywood” sponsored copyright legislation as a real and dangerous threat.

Around the world opposition is growing to what is viewed a United States repressive corporate lead attack on the freedom of the internet. The European Parliament (the directly elected parliamentary institution of the European Union) recently adopted a resolution strongly worded and stressing "the need to protect the integrity of the global Internet and freedom of communication by refraining from unilateral measures to revoke IP addresses or domain names." This body is composed of 736 Members of the European Parliament, who serve the second largest democratic electorate in the world (after India) and the largest trans-national democratic electorate in the world which is well over 375 million eligible voters. Forty-one global Human Rights Organizations have joined together expressing their concern with SOPA and Protect IP Act, stating”Through SOPA, the United States is attempting to dominate a shared global resource. Building a nationwide firewall and creating barriers for international website and service operators makes a powerful statement that the United States is not interested in participating in a global information infrastructure.

Also, an importantly, an ever increasing number of Law professors are voicing their apprehension and are beginning to advance numerous legal concerns as well as prominent Harvard law professor and author of American Constitutional Law, Laurence Tribe. Tribe is maintaining that SOPA is unconstitutional because, if enacted, "an entire Web site containing tens of thousands of pages could be targeted; if only a single page were accused of infringement." Tribe also stated in his written criticism to the US Congress “But proclaiming the bill to be constitutional does not make it so – any more than reminding everyone of a proposed law’s good intentions renders that law immune to First Amendment scrutiny. There is now a loudly growing critical chorus from within and without the US of negative reactions to the Stop Online Piracy Act (H.R. 3261) as well as its Senate counterpart, the Protect IP Act (S. 968).

The power and considerable wrath of opponents of SOPA was recently leveled against Internet domain registrar and Web hosting company Go Daddy. Go Daddy is currently the largest ICANN-accredited registrar in the world. The protest started from a single thread appearing on the social news website Reddit on December 22, 2011. The thread discussed the identity of supporters of the United States Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and identified Go Daddy as an ardent SOPA supporter. Getting word of the internet dust-up Go Daddy doubled down and soon after released additional statements verifying their support of SOPA, causing many companies to immediately close their GO Daddy accounts. The word of Go Daddy SOPA support quickly spread across the internet and was rapidly followed by a proposed Go Daddy Boycott day on December 29, 2011. Soon a boycott and transfer of domains was proposed and quickly caught fire.

The strongest and most vocal supporter of this action was CEO Ben Huh, of Cheezburger Nation. Huh immediately pledged that his company would remove over 1,000 domains from GO Daddy if the company continued their support of SOPA. Huh’s threat was followed quickly by Jimmy Wales, Wikipedia founder announcing that all Wikipedia domains would be removed from Go Daddy as their position on SOPA was "unacceptable”. Soon the action of Huh and Wales was followed with action by Alan Schaaf, Imgur owner transferring his website as well. In solidarity the collective hacker group Anonymous released a video, containing an ominous warning to Go Daddy “Together, we will strategically remove Go Daddy from the internet.” And on December 25, 2011 as a result of the boycott and internet actions Go Daddy lost 16,191 domains. On December 26, 2011, a Google bomb was started against Go Daddy to remove them from the number one place on Google for the term "Domain Registration" in reprisal for supporting SOPA.

On December 23, 2011 go Daddy CEO; Warren Adelman claimed to have pulled Go Daddy support for SOPA. Go Daddy officially released a statement saying "Go Daddy will support SOPA when and if the Internet community supports it. Adelman stated he felt that the public statement removing Go Daddy support would be enough for now. It is yet to be seen if Go Daddy is sincere in disavowing their support of SOPA. It may be worth noting that while many Internet sites would be subject to shutdowns under SOPA, Texas Republican Lamar S. Smith, SOPA sponsor, specifically named Go Daddy in an amendment to the bill as being excluded from penalties from the act.

Although there is a large and fiery storm of protest against SOPA unfortunately where it matter most there is only a small but growing opposition in the US Congress and the Senate to SOPA. A recent letter signed by California congressional Democrats Zoe Lofgren, and Anna Eshoo, along with Ron Paul, the Texas Republican and current presidential candidate tenaciously predicting the passage of SOPA will invite "an explosion of innovation-killing lawsuits and litigation." And Nancy Pelosi, the House Democratic leader recently tweeted that “A better solution than SOPA needs to be found.” But even as the opposition to SOPA grows the support for Protect IP is surprisingly broad in the United States Senate, and for SOPA support is slightly less so. So far, SOPA has only 24 cosponsors, but it hasn't been around quite as long. A study funded by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) a main supporter and lobbyist for Protect IP and SOPA states that of 1,900 bills introduced in the Senate, only 18 other bills boast the same number of bipartisan cosponsors as Protect IP. It appears that this study, places SOPA in the top 1 percent of most-popular bills ever, at least by this measurement of congressional enthusiasm. Of Protect IP's sponsors in the Senate, and surprisingly over 60 percent are Democrats.

There are three very powerful organizations that have been br0adly outspoken in their support of SOPA, The Motion Picture Association of America, Inc. (MPAA), the Recording Industry Association of America, (RIAA) and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Recently released documents show that “Hollywood Coalition” has outspent the Silicon Valley Technology sector more than ten times on lobbyists in the past two years and the US Chamber of Commerce has placed its considerable corporate weight and money behind SOPA. In a letter to the editor of The New York Times, The U.S. Chamber of Commerce voiced their whole hearted and enthusiastic support of SOFA with the rationale that rogue web sites that steal America's innovative and creative products attract more than 53 billion visits a year and threaten more than 19 million American jobs. It has been reported that Yahoo has cancelled its membership with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce because of the Chambers fervent support for SOPA and has ask others to do the same.

The outlook for those that want to Stop Net Neutrality and Keep the Internet Free is looking rather glum The US Senate Judiciary Committee after a two day debate wasted little time in passing the Protect IP. It is apparently clear that support of SOPA has an unassailable majority on the Senate Judiciary Committee. Sopa is expected to be approved when Congress reconvenes in 2012. As far as Protect IP, it has already been approved by the US Senate Judiciary Committee and is in queue for a January 24 floor vote. There is one small glimmer of hope coming from Oregon Democrat Sen. Ron Wyden, who has bravely placed a hold on the bill. What happens next more than likely depends on the House leadership, which is Republican at this juncture in time. There could also be further House hearings on the security- associated ramification of SOPA, which would possibly delay the final vote. Unfortunately, at this time, there are no indications that would signal any further hearings.

Public Knowledge, one of the many groups that has voiced criticism and has difficulty with the SOPA called it “overbroad, ripe for abuse and bad international precedent”. Even though Public Knowledge, like most of SOPA detractors supports combating online piracy, they also believe this particular bill is definitely not the way to confront the problem. "Therefore the question must be asked, is this inept bill worth the risk of permanently damaging aspects of free speech and forever damage the function of the Internet? To SOPA The Hacker News says “NO WAY

Please go to this site and do as many of the actions as you can. This bill has strong corporations behind it, but together we are stronger http://americancensorship.org/

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