posted by Thom Holwerda on Wed 16th Nov 2011 23:22 UTC
IconThe US is currently busy copying China's internet censorship policies, but before this bill, the Stop Online Piracy Act or SOPA, can be pushed through, the House Judiciary Committee held a hearing to debate the act. Sadly, the hearing was - quite obviously - rigged. It was set up so that Big Content and Congress could label Google and other opponents to the law as "the pirates". In fact, Google was the only party opposing SOPA.

I honestly don't know what to do with all this SOPA nonsense. It's so utterly clear just how bad this act is, it's so utterly clear how totalitarian and dangerous it is, it's so utterly clear just how grossly free speech and freedom in general are being curbed by this act, that it just baffles me that people who call themselves "Americans" could even support such a monstrosity.

The number of law professors, scholars, civil rights groups, and other organisations who oppose SOPA is so incredibly long, it boggles the mind it is still getting pushed through. Several large technology companies banded together today to publish a full-page advertisement against SOPA in The New York Times, and combined with the list of supporters/detractors for the act, it's interesting to see just who does - and doesn't support this bill.

Microsoft is a proponent of limiting free speech on the internet, and thus, supports this act. Apple is not on the list of supporters, but the company's close ties to Disney make it pretty clear where Apple's allegiances lie. Disney, of course, is most likely the biggest proponent of laws like this, which is incredibly ironic - Disney is built, for almost 100%, on stories appropriated from the public domain. Disney would not have existed - or at least not in its current size - if the current copyright system was in place 100 years ago.

At this point, I just don't know what to do about this anymore. It would seem that the slippery slope of IP protection smart people have been warning about for years and years now is no longer just a slope - it's now a free-fall wherein the rights of the people are discarded left and right.

What should worry our US readers the most is the testimony today of the US Register of Copyrights, Maria Pallante. She stated - with a straight face - that without SOPA, the US copyright system would fall apart. Worse yet, she stated that SOPA doesn't go far enough - harsher methods are needed.

Sad. If there ever was anything that symbolises the moral bankruptcy of US politics and government, it's SOPA.

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