H.R.3261 - Stop Online Piracy Act
The Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), also known as House Bill 3261, is a bill that was introduced in the United States House of Representatives on October 26, 2011. The bill, if made law, would expand the ability of U.S. law enforcement and copyright holders to fight online trafficking in copyrighted intellectual property and counterfeit goods.
The originally proposed bill would allow the U.S. Department of Justice, as well as copyright holders, to seek court orders against websites accused of enabling or facilitating copyright infringement. Depending on who makes the request, the court order could include barring online advertising networks and payment facilitators from doing business with the allegedly infringing website, barring search engines from linking to such sites, and requiring Internet Service Providers to block access to such sites. The bill would make unauthorized streaming of copyrighted content a crime, with a maximum penalty of five years in prison for ten such infringements within six months. The bill also gives immunity to Internet services that voluntarily take action against websites dedicated to infringement, while making liable for damages any copyright holder who knowingly misrepresents that a website is dedicated to infringement.
Proponents of the bill say it protects the intellectual property market and corresponding industry, jobs and revenue, and is necessary to bolster enforcement of copyright laws, especially against foreign websites. They cite examples such as Google’s $500 million settlement with the Department of Justice for its role in a scheme to target U.S. consumers with ads to illegally import prescription drugs from Canadian pharmacies.
Opponents say that it violates the 1st Amendment, is internet censorship, will cripple the Internet, and will threaten whistle-blowing and other free speech actions. Opponents have initiated a number of protest actions, including petition drives, boycotts of companies that support the legislation, and planned service blackouts by English Wikipedia and major Internet companies scheduled to coincide with the next Congressional hearing on the matter.
Some of the Organizations Supporting H.R.3261
Recording Industry Association of America
Motion Picture Association of America
National Music Publishers’ Association
Screen Actors Guild
U. S. Chamber of Commerce
Ford Motor Company
Universal Music Group Inc.
Some of the Organizations Opposing H.R.3261