Digesting SOPA… and the Red Flags


I would like to start by saying that reading law has got to be one of the most boring experiences of my lifetime. I equate it to trying to swallow a dozen rice cakes without water. Equally bland, tasteless, repetitive and unpleasant. After chewing it down, we have to digest it. SOPA… it’s not a big ass soup, it’s the Stop Online Piracy Act (HR 3261). The one that’s creating all the controversy.

My very first thought as I read was: ‘This law is for hollywood and the music industry.” Ok. Got it.  Upon closer consideration I realize the extent of power the law provides.

RED FLAG #1: “A service provider shall take technically feasible and reasonable measures designed to prevent access by its subscribers located within the United States to the foreign infringing site (or portion thereof) that is subject to the order, including measures designed to prevent the domain name of the foreign infringing site (or portion thereof) from resolving to that domain name’s Internet Protocol address.”

  • That means your service provider won’t connect you to the site. It will be blocked! The bill also makes service providers “responsible” for blocking the content and may be sanctioned if they don’t comply.

RED FLAG #2: “INTERNET SEARCH ENGINES.—A provider of an Internet search engine shall take technically feasible and reasonable measures, as expeditiously as possible, but in any case within 5 days after being served with a copy of the order, or within such time as the court may order, designed to prevent the foreign infringing site that is subject to the order, or a portion of such site specified in the order, from being served as a direct hypertext link.”

  • That means the site won’t show up on Google! The site will disappear for all in the US and their territories (OJO Puerto Rico). Your service provider won’t allow access and search engines won’t show it. Of course, your friend in Europe or South America will see it!

 RED FLAG #3: To save you from having to re-read boring words (as I did), this flag is because Payment providers (meaning banks and paypal, etc.) won’t be able to facilitate a monetary transaction between you and the site. Again, the site will be BLOCKED!

RED FLAG #4: “D) INTERNET ADVERTISING SERVICES… (I) prevent its service from providing advertisements to or relating to the foreign infringing site that is subject to the order or a portion of such site specified in the order; (II) cease making available advertisements for the foreign infringing site or such portion thereof, or paid or sponsored search results, links, or other placements that provide access to such foreign infringing site or such portion thereof; and (III) cease providing or receiving any compensation for advertising or related services to, from, or in connection with such foreign infringing site or such portion thereof.”

  •  Again the site will disappear to the public, advertising, etc. Our World Wide Web will be more like US Wide Web.
  • And the blocking can happen with a simple accusation… There’s no need to prove guilt at first.

The bill also establishes a new position within government: a supposed “intellectual property attaché” to the embassies abroad whose sole responsability is to handle intellectual property matters. (I wonder where that $$$ will come from… The bill doesn’t state.

And just now I read a headline that the bill has been retired.  I rest my case.

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