You should. SOPA, or the “Stop Online Piracy Act (H.R. 3261),” is a bill being introduced by a bipartisan group of lawmakers on the Judiciary Committee. The bill would allow for federal agencies to police the Internet for infringements on the intellectual property of companies within the United States.
While in theory this is a great idea, the issue with the bill is the methodology and the process by which infringement is defined and enforcement is enacted. In it’s current proposed state the bill gives the US Dept. of Justice & copyright holders the ability to effectively shut down websites that it (or its corporate allies) disagree with.
The act of blocking the domain name of what the bill deems an infringing website will not stop online piracy, it will simply change it, as the content will still be available via other means. This is not true for the thousands of honest businesses and open content sites (think YouTube) that depend on their brand recognition for survival and would subsequently fall under the broad definition of what an infringing site would be.
The result of being mistakenly blocked, even for a short time, to a small business or Internet start-up has the potential to be catastrophic. Not only would access to the site be blocked, but the companies ability to perform even day to day tasks such as billing customers via credit card or Paypal would be stripped, making fighting this type of government action via the legal process simply not an option for many small businesses financially.
The people in congress debating and deciding the fate of this bill do not have the technical knowledge necessary to comprehend its potential unintended consequences and they need to hear from you. You can and should contact your congressional representative regarding this and make your voice heard.
The easiest way to do this is via the following site: