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Monday, December 26, 2011
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SOPA: Introduction to a Very Bad Bill

I know this is a radio industry down-week and that many of us are on autopilot. Disengage for a moment, however, and focus the last few days of this year on taking action against a legislative act which few in the radio industry have read about.

This topic has been given no mention in radio trades that I'm aware of, yet it has the potential to affect anyone who uses the internet. Perhaps it is something to give mention about on your airwaves.
"If you use the internet, SOPA is a very bad bill that we need to make very dead!" Film and record industry groups are supporting the "Stop Online Piracy Act" (SOPA).

While the title makes it sound like this is filled with good intent, it's about as ill-conceived a concept as the assignment to detention camps of U.S. citizens with Japanese descent during World War II, or the U.S. subjection of the Hawaiian islands (and people) in the late 1800s. SOPA is being pushed using similar hysteria tactics that surrounded passage of the "USA Patriot Act."

SOPA, in effect, is a bill that's sailing through the House of Representatives. It's authored by Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas), and it will give the government an on/off switch to web sites accused of copyright infringement. (Note: No trial required.)

There are technological hurdles being placed in front of any company connected with the (accused) infringing web site. The fact that each item covered under SOPA already has a law fortifying government's weight, the powers granted by SOPA to anyone (labels and film studios in particular) should be given to no organization.

Read through this bill's 71 pages; or get a general idea of what it contains at this CNet News article "New version of SOPA copyright bill, old complaints." Digest it any way you wish, but please lobby your House Representative for a "No" vote on H.R. 3261.

The "Stop Online Piracy Act" is one of those proposed laws with little common good, but it has a lot of plus for its few supporters.

Think about how the Egyptian government cut off internet connectivity at the height of its spring revolution. In its broadest sense of use, SOPA would give the government this same power to turn web sites off at the drop of an accusation.

It doesn't matter whether or not you are in the radio industry. If you use the internet, SOPA is a very bad bill that we need to make very dead!

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