Some government mistakes slip by with only a few of us shouting about them. The Stop Online Piracy Act, or SOPA, is not one of those. People across the Internet are getting loud against the House bill and its Senate counterpart PROTECT IP, the one I’ve been yelling about for months, but many businesses are supporting.
Yes, I’m going to be that guy, saying I was into the band before you ever heard of him. But, instead of being disappointed that the band’s gone mainstream, I’m glad we’re now at the point where Darrell Issa is changing his Twitter avatar in protest of the bill.
The bill has serious problems. As I previously warned it tampers with the delicate balance of interests present in the DMCA, but on top of that Title I is nothing but a framework for censorship in America that can and is designed to be triggered not through judicial trials, but through mere injunctions. And further, if an ISP or other targeted company cannot technically or economically manage to comply with the government’s orders to censor, the burden of proof is on the ISP to show that as an “affirmative defense.”
This bill goes too far. Kill it. Issa says he will introduce his alternative. I hope it follows the model of the UIGEA: cut off funding to lawbreakers. Censorship is not needed.
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Oh for crying out loud. For all that Washington talks tough about getting Americans access to high speed Internet, the “supercommittee” wants to tax new spectrum licensees. That’s just what we need: make it more expensive to build out America’s wireless infrastructure in order to pay for the President and his Cabinet to hand out money to their friends and political supporters. Isn’t that special? Here’s a joint letter against it from a number of industry groups.
Then you’ve got Dick Blumenthal, Al Franken, and Amy Klobuchar, leading the charge for the Democrat-controlled Senate that hasn’t passed a budget in 900 days, but wants to get government involved on what can or can’t be called 4G wireless Internet. Great prioritization here.
Spectrum’s important, though. Merely having access to a solid Internet connection lets Americans ave lots of money every year. Not just from being able to buy online, but also from gathering information, and simply from being able to stay at home. IIA did the math and American families each can save thousands of dollars a year online. And we’re busy regulating, taxing, and harassing firms like Google and AT&T, instead of getting government out of the way of investment. Yes, I’m frustrated.
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