There is a point in every government, every political body where you either have to say, “Enough is enough” or “we submit to your power.” To awake the slumbering giant, the people, is at once the hardest thing to start, and once started the hardest force this planet has ever seen. However, when our unalienable rights are trampled upon, like they are with the new Sopa bill (HR 3632) then I feel it is time to take a stand to stop unethical measures before they begin.
Now, I would love to be talking to you about some cool new toy that I discovered on the internet or strategies to make your business successful, however, I am afraid that if I do not discuss the new SOPA law with you today then I might not be able to do so in the future. This law is exceedingly dangerous, and would curtail freedom of speech on the internet and begin a new era of internet related lawsuits. At that point, I might actually have to study for the bar, because it sounds like a much more lucrative endeavor when every single internet site across the country can be sued and their owners imprisoned(see below).
Now, I will do my best to explain this law, but please understand that it is poorly written, so if I am missing something or you read this differently than please post a comment below, so we can have a dialogue on this topic.
First, this law will not only affect US citizens, but foreign sites as well. Actually, if you have a foreign site that caters to US citizens you have even less due process than Americans according to this bill.They check to see if your address is in the US, and if not the Attorney General can then file for a court injunction to remove your site along with all of your advertising. That is not a trial by the way, they just file an injunction to remove your site and then if you want it back you have to go to court.
A similar process is followed for US citizens, but the fact is that they can suspend all advertising on a site and the site itself just because they feel it violates US law. There is no due process for ensuring that
Second, it is shocking how a violation on a website can also mean banishment from search engines, social media, and internet advertising. Please note that I am not a lawyer, so if there is something that I am misconstruing here please let me know. However, I do have an undergraduate degree in Political Science, so not completely out of my league here.
Maybe, we should file an injunction against every media company that supports this bill. Somewhere in the past ten years, it is very possible that inadvertently NBC, the Motion Pictures Association of America(MPA), Recording Industry, Viacom, and other media sites interested in passing this law.
Or maybe we can just counter-sue for violations of our First Amendment rights to freedom of speech or perhaps for our right to a trial by jury. We at least know they are not violating our sixth amendment right to a speedy trial, oh wait, there is no trial.
After reading the law I found the scariest parts to be where they talk about imprisoning the owners of sites that violate copyright and trademark law. So, if I go to creative commons and take a pic from there I would be in violation of the government laws if one of the pics was mistakenly allowed to be used. That means that I could go to prison for a year for one picture if I understand correctly.
Either way, I am not telling people to file the first injunctions against these corporations. I do, however, see some ways this could completely backfire.
Maybe, the courts will actually imprison the executives at these corporations, like it states in the SOPA bill? What a weird world of rules that would be.
In the end I am hoping that we can get this bill from passing. In order to do that we must act together to stop this bill. If everyone in the United States reading this can take one of the following steps below it will go a long way in combating this piece of legislation.
- Contact your Congressman and Senators. Go to USA.gov to find out who they are. It is best to either call them or mail them. Let them know the name of the bill (HR 3632), and why you are opposed to it. I told my Congressman’s office that I felt this was the end of free speech on the internet. Anyone could be given a court injunction with laws like this one.
- Share this article with your friends and colleagues who are interested in freedom of speech.
- Read the bill itself if you have further questions, because it is impossible for me
- Comment below about other actions that people can take to fight SOPA becoming law or your take on this bill.
Looking forward to hearing more about your thoughts on SOPA. Please take action now!