Internet on Strike to stop the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA)

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I am reproducing a message posted in the Chapter mailing list yesterday on the SOPA Strike:

The Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), also known as House Bill 3261 or H.R. 3261, is abill 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 – Wikipedia

A development such as this is extremely harmful to the Internet and would significantly alter the way Internet works. This could not possibly be construed as a US National issue. The implications of US decisions on Internet Policy stretches beyond its borders, worldwide. SOPA / PIPA seek intervention on sites that are non-US sites as well, and naturally US would do extended work on the basis of an ACT like this to cover the rest of the world with the ‘wisdom’ enshrined in the Act. As far as Internet is concerned, the issues are transnational. So, it is appropriate that we black out the  Internet Society India Chennai for a day to join the WebSites worldwide taking part in the SOPA strike.

This site featured the SOPA message for a few hours.  (Internet Society India Chennai Chapter might not be unanimous in its support against SOPA, so members who have different views on SOPA might post their comments on the SOPA Act in the comments field of this blog post.)

Here are some reports from New York:

In New York, the President of Internet Society NY David Solomon addressed the gathering during the NY-Tech Emergency Meet Up on SOPA.

ISOC NY President David Solomonoff at the NY-Tech Emergency Meet Up on SOPA

ISOC NY President David Solomonoff at the NY-Tech Emergency Meet Up on SOPA

And here is Richard Knipel, Member of the Internet Society New York Board, representing Wikipedia:

Richard Knipel ISOC NY Board Member represents Wikipedia at NY-Tech Emergency meet on SOPA

Richard Knipel ISOC NY Board Member represents Wikipedia at NY-Tech Emergency meet on SOPA

And here is a view of some of the placards:

sopa strike new york

sopa strike new york

“Congressional support for controversial online piracy legislation eroded dramatically on Wednesday in the face of an unprecedented online protest supported by tech titans such as Google, Wikipedia and Facebook.

Several key senators withdrew their support from the Senate’s Protect IP Act, including Tea Party favorite Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), an elected member of his party’s leadership.”