Sunday, January 13, 2013

Understanding SOPA/PIPA

Most everyone has noticed the swath of websites that were blacked out in protest of the pending PIPA / SOPA legislation in congress, but not as many people understand exactly why those bills are such a problem. This short documentary explores PIPA and SOPA, how the bills work, who's behind them, and why all internet users have reason to be concerned. The fight to prevent online censorship in the U.S. is far from over. While SOPA's future seems increasingly bleak, PIPA has not been pulled from consideration in the senate, where it will be up for a vote later this month. It is important to understand that PIPA has the same fundamental problems of SOPA. It is NOT a compromise bill; at this point, it is little more than a legislative strategy to abandon the SOPA branding in favor of PIPA. Both bills contain vague language and reach too broadly, threatening free speech and innovation on the web. Both institute a private right of action for companies to block access to infringing content without due process. Both contain an immunity clause to protect these companies from legal consequence if they make mistakes. And both set the wrong global precedent by encouraging other countries to censor the internet based on their own domestic laws. While President Obama is opposed to the DNS-blocked mechanisms proposed in the bills, the language still exists. As well, Obama has not come against the legislation itself, nor has he signaled his intention to veto the legislation if it passes. These bills don't need to be fixed, they need to be scrapped. - Note this correction: David Sohn from the Center for Democracy & Technology is incorrectly shown as David Cohn. - Produced and edited by Chase Whiteside (interviews), Erick Stoll (camera), and Liz Cambron. Graphic design by Chase Whiteside. Motion design by Ashley Walton ( Music from Nicolas Jaar's brilliant debut album Space is Only Noise. THANKS: David Sohn and the Center For Democracy & Technology, Chris Riley and Free Press, Ashley Walton, Steve Bognar, John Aravosis, Jay Marose, Walter Herrera

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