By John Sykes
If you’ve had trouble getting certain places on the internet today, this is why:
From Heritage’s “The Morning Bell”:
- As of midnight, Wikipedia is shut down for 24 hours, and hundreds of other popular websites have gone dark right along with it. They are standing together in protest of two controversial pieces of legislation that threaten Internet security and undermine the freedom of speech all in an effort to crack down on online “piracy” — the illegal distribution of copyrighted material.
- Hollywood, the music industry, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce have gone to bat on behalf of the proposed laws on the grounds that they will help protect valuable copyrighted property. And while the goal is laudable, the ends don’t justify the means. The Stop Online Piracy Act and the Protect IP Act have far-reaching consequences for the Internet’s infrastructure, individual liberties, and innovation in the digital age.
- Under the laws, upon a court order, third-party companies and websites would be forced to crack down on rogue websites — and even ones that unwittingly host or link to material that may violate copyrights or trademarks, whether or not they have knowledge of the violation. Internet service providers would be required to block Internet addresses of offending sites — a measure that Internet engineers warn could threaten Internet security. Search engines would be prohibited from including pirate sites in search results, a requirement that goes well beyond current law and may, in fact, violate the First Amendment. Heritage’s James Gattuso and Paul Rosenzweig explain ramifications:
We have to stop SOPA and PIPA now, in their tracks, or they will truly be seizing our last bastion of conservative freedom. Use this link: TAKE ACTION NOW!